I was going to name my set of articles The Catcher and The Rye, but I'm not a big Rye whisky drinker and no one wants to read what's in my head when I've been drinking anyway. I will tell you all that I'm just glad to be back and sharing with all of you my love of all things Crimson & White.
Coach Murphy has quite a lineup for us this year and I'm hopeful that I am just the person to guide you through the year and on into the post season with these beauties. After last year's expected disappointment at the Championship round of the WCWS against the Southeastern Conference's juggernaut Florida Gators, we pull up our hose and condition our gloves for the new season. While there are many standards returning on the roster this year might be able to be defined in one phrase; depth chart tumult.
Patrick Murphy himself might be as confused as I am concerning how the defense will be played this year. While you will continue to see USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year watchlist member Haylie McCleney lurking in center field and her wing-woman Kallie Case in left there is a chance that last year's right field maven Jadyn Spencer moves to first base for the infield-in-flux. Here's hoping that utility players Chandler Dare and Danielle Richard can work in right field if Coach Murphy feels Jadyn must move, something I personally hope does not come to fruition.
Shortstop sentinel Danae Hays anchors what should be the most interesting group to watch come together over the season, after Peyton Grantham went down with an ACL injury, effectively putting her on the shelf for 2015. Leona Lafaele looks to move from first to catcher, which begot Jadyn Spencer moving to the infield. Seasoned senior Chauncey Bell and upstart freshman Carrigan Fain look to secure the catchers spot and keep Leona safely tucked at first. Second and third base appear to be the best alchemy of Danielle Richards, Marissa Runyon, Callie Case, and Chandler Dare to be starters, something I don't expect to be fully finalized until the midway point of the season.
In the industrial sized grinder, ahem, pitchers circle, is the biggest hole to fill of all with the loss of Jaclyn Traina to graduation. Senior Leslie Jury looks to be the first lady called upon each game yet with a pitching staff as talented as the likes of Sydney Littlejohn and talented freshman Alexis Osorio you can look for good pitching numbers from the trio. The style difference of Leslie vs. Sydney is dynamic, and the addition of another flame-thrower in the young arm bolsters the staff.
The schedule has plenty of highlights and spotlights. Here's what you should know:
Be sure to check out RollTide.Com for the promo schedule too, fun stuff to be had at the games if you're in T-town!
Feb 5 - @ #23 South Alabama - Rematch of last year's Tuscaloosa Region Final
Feb 13-15 @ Stanford Nike Invitational [Pacific, Stanford, Cal-Poly]
Feb 17 @ UAB
Feb 20-22 Bama Bash [Michigan, James Madison, Lipscomb]
Mar 10 vs UAB
Mar 14-15 @ Georgia [TV]
Mar 21-23 vs Florida [TV]
Apr 4-5 @ Kentucky [TV]
Apr 15 vs North Carolina State [TV]
Apr 17-18 @ Auburn (FAU!)
Apr 23 vs Tennessee (Fourth Thursday in April)
May 2 @ Arkansas [TV]
May 6-9 SEC Tournament @ Baton Rouge, Louisiana [TV]
Hope for the best.