WCWS: Some Crimson Tide fans are loud, proud — and wacky

Emily Pitek Clifford leads a group of costumed cheerleaders for Alabama at Women's College World Series.
BY RJ YOUNG, Staff Writer, ryoung@opubco.com Published: May 31, 2012
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The gnomes are in fact 20-year-old Naples, Fla., native Jordan Leach and 22-year-old Eugene, Ore., native David Berney. They are the boyfriends of Alabama junior Kayla Braud and sophomore Ryan Iamurri. The men have Braud and Iamurri to thank for their uniforms.

“They made the outfits, and we decided to wear them,” Berney said.

Leach and Berney began attending Tide softball games as gnomes — complete with silver and red dunce caps, red vests and gnome buttons — at the 2012 Tuscaloosa Super Regional. The outfits have been a hit with Tide fans and opposing teams' fans alike as has Clifford's energy.

“I've been told other teams wished they had somebody like us,” she said.

“Us” also includes 24-year-old Alabama grad student Drew Hawk, who joined forces with Clifford five years ago at an Alabama softball game. Why? Because she looked like she was having fun.

He began wearing a sombrero and brought the idea of adding crimson and white striped overalls to the look and, at one time, wearing bicycle helmets to games.

“We wore bike helmets at one game against Washington and were called the Helmet Hecklers,” Hawk said. “We're all about being loud, being proud and distracting them and getting in their heads.”

Clifford said she loves traveling to softball games and attends every home game she can. Her love for the team is only rivaled by the strength of her voice.

“It's all about distracting them and having fun,” she said.