The Covid-19 delay for the Tokyo Olympics was a disappointing blow to many people. But there was a small silver lining for Team USA softball. Had the games been held in 2020, former University of Alabama softball star Haylie McCleney would’ve still been recovering from a knee injury. Instead, she helped secure the silver medal for Team USA. 

“I was actually on FaceTime with my fiancé, Kylee, as the email came to us,” McCleney said in a video for Team USA. “So we were told that it was gonna be an email sent at 8:30 in the morning. I just showed her the roster. We kinda had a moment of ‘Oh my gosh! This is really happening.’ It was initial shock and then it was happy and joy and tears. It was a moment I will never forget.”

In the first five games of Olympic play, McCleney scored four of Team USA’s nine runs. Her batting success helped secure an opportunity to play for the gold medal, though the team eventually lost to Japan. Interest in softball has spiked in recent years and Team USA are hoping that it will remain on the agenda so they can have another shot at gold in Paris in 2024.

Over the next couple of weeks, Reckon will introduce you to several Southern Olympians competing in Tokyo. Visit Reckon’s Instagram to see all our Southern Olympians.