Missouri softball's Emily Crane helps team in more ways than one

Monday, March 3, 2014 | 5:46 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — There was no reason the Missouri softball team couldn't go 5-0 last weekend.

At least, that's what sophomore second baseman/outfielder Emily Crane said as the Tigers prepared for the Citrus Classic in Kissimmee, Fla., last week.

The Citrus Classic matched the No. 17 Missouri team against five unranked ones.

It shouldn't have been a problem.

And it wasn't, thanks in large part to Crane.

Crane batted 11-for-20 with nine RBIs in the five games — all wins. She smacked a three-run home run in the first frame against Radford.

Her highlight, though, was probably her two-RBI single to end the Tigers' bottom-of-the-seventh rally against Illinois State, giving Missouri a walk-off 11-10 win.

But Crane helps out in the outfield, too, and not just by snagging fly balls.

"We have a good time in the outfield," Crane said. "We try to keep it lively, 'cause I mean the outfield, you know, you don’t get as much action all the time in the outfield, so you just gotta keep it fun, keep it light."

You might hear repeated chants of "I like that" from Crane and then from sophomore outfielder Taylor Gadbois. They'll say it when their team does something good in the infield, like when freshman pitcher Tori Finucane strikes someone out.

You might see the pair hit their chests frequently.

"Because we got this," Gadbois said. "Me and Em are weird."

Crane admits that the goofiness stems from her, but when she's around her teammates, it builds.

"It’s just really dumb," Crane said, "but it’s super fun, and it gets us smiling and keeps it light and, like, takes the pressure out of the game. It just makes us enjoy it a little more."

After the team's 4-3 loss against then-No. 8 UCLA on Feb. 22, the team was quiet for a while. Players kept to themselves, thinking about what had happened.

"But then give it, like, 30 minutes, and we’re like, 'You know what, we can’t do anything about it,'" Crane said. And then they were back to goofing off and singing and looking forward to the next game.

After a 5-0 weekend, there was no need for Crane and the team to wait.

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