AUBURN, Ala. — Kasey Cooper thought the curtain call at Auburn softball’s home of Jane B. Moore Field would come too early. Then she was worried that it wouldn’t come at all.
But in the fifth inning in Game 2 of Team USA’s doubleheader in Auburn on Saturday night, the former Tigers star brought the crowd on the Plains to their feet one more time.
In what will most likely be her final at-bat in Auburn, Cooper launched a 3-0 pitch over the center field wall for a solo home run. Her bomb started the beginning of the end for Team USA’s second run-rule win over the Alabama All-Stars — a squad that featured four of her former Auburn teammates.
Kasey Cooper goes yard in the bottom of the 5th for Team USA. Different uniform, familiar sight. pic.twitter.com/douBUqaTPP
— Justin Ferguson (@JFergusonAU) July 23, 2017
“It was pretty awesome,” Cooper said. “It sounds crazy, but that last at-bat, I just said, ‘God, be with me.’ And I just had that confidence.”
The best player in Auburn softball history started well in her homecoming, which was part of Team USA’s summer tour across the country. She laced a hard-hit single and a laser of a double in Game 1, scoring twice in the national team’s 10-2 victory.
But Game 2 wasn’t nearly as smooth. Cooper struck out looking against Auburn pitcher Ashlee Swindle in the first inning and grounded the ball back to her in the second.
“I was struggling a little bit in the beginning,” Cooper said. “I started thinking more in the box in the second game because I had that feeling that when I had a great at-bat, Coach was going to do the curtain call for me.”
However, after Swindle left the game for a reliever, Cooper got the final big hit at Jane B. Moore Field that she was looking for all night long.
“Typical Cooper,” Auburn center fielder Victoria Draper, who played all but one inning of the doubleheader for the All-Stars, said with a smile. “She’s awesome. I wouldn’t expect anything less.”
Her home run snapped a three-inning scoreless drought for Team USA and prompted the loudest “Cooooooop” chant of the night.
“Just having that great at-bat and having all the crowd stand up one more time, I ended on a good note on this field,” Cooper said. “It makes me feel a lot better.”
The return of Cooper was a welcome sight for both Auburn fans and the current players who were representing the state Saturday night.
“I always wanted to play for the USA, but playing against them was even better,” Auburn second baseman KK Crocker said. “It was fun playing against Kasey. We had our little chat at second base for a little bit.”
Cooper, who is splitting her time with the national team and the Scrap Yard Dawgs in National Pro Fastpitch, isn’t done with Auburn just yet.
“I like to play softball, and I want to play when I can,” Cooper said. “So I’ll be back. I’m taking a class, and the professor is working with me really well. I’ll be back in September, ready for a couple of weeks of down time. The coaches out here want to help me train back up.”
While Cooper didn’t need any more convincing, she said Saturday night showed her that she’ll always have support in Auburn.
The sellout crowd chanting her name after the doubleheader made sure of that.
“To see that it was sold out at Auburn, it’s amazing,” Cooper said. “It just tells me that Auburn is always going to be a home for me and I’m always going to be welcomed. Leaving that legacy, that’s awesome.”