Alabama softball returns to the diamond on February 8. Many familiar faces return, but the Tide lost (gulp) six seniors and a highly-productive sophomore. Fortunately, coach Patrick Murphy planned ahead bringing in four freshmen and three junior transfers to fill those holes.
The Tide will be led by Preseason All-SEC Bailey Hemphill and Kaylee Tow.
Hemphill hit .333 with boisterous 1.212 OPS (it is not an even comparison, but Mike Trout led MLB with a 1.088 OPS in 2018). The first baseman led the team in homers (13) and RBI (48) as well as a huge on-base percentage of .488. That is a church league number!
Outfielder Tow had an outstanding first year at the Capstone and was an NFCA Division I Freshman of the Year Finalist. She hit .327 and started 55 of 56 games. Her OPS was 1.077 and on-base was .457 with 11 dingers and 31 RBI.
Also back are leadoff hitter and outfielder Elissa Brown (.341 BA, 3 triples), OF Merris Schroder (.269 BA, .412 Slugging), and the rock behind the plate, Reagan Dykes, among others.
|UTIL||Bailey Hemphill||Jr.||Lafayette, LA|
|OF||Kaylee Tow||So.||Madisonville, KY|
|OF||Elissa Brown||Jr.||Eclectic, AL|
|OF||Merris Schroder||Sr.||Houston, Texas|
|UTIL||Caroline Hardy||Sr.||Vestavia Hills, AL|
|C||Reagan Dykes||Sr.||Collins, MS|
|IF||Kyra Lockhart||So.||Duluth, GA|
|OF||KB Sides||So.||Dora, AL|
|RHP||Courtney Gettins||Sr.||Hastings, New Zealand|
|LHP||Madison Preston||So.||Centralia, MO|
|IF||Maddie Morgan||So.||Lynnwood, WA|
|IF||Claire Jenkins||Jr.||Cullman, AL|
GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN
The Tide will sorely miss their seniors: 2B Demi Turner, RHP Alexis Osorio, 1B/3B Peyton Grantham, OF Rachel Bobo, C Carrigan Fain, and SS Sydney Booker.
One other departure is sophomore OF Gabby Callaway who hit .300 and led the team in doubles (10) and was second in hits (42) and RBI (32). It is unclear what led to her departure but it appears she has quit the game.
- IF Skylar Wallace FR, Woodstock, Ga. / Etowah HS - Selected to USA Softball Junior Women’s National Training Team.
- OF Kloyee Anderson FR, Candler, N.C. / Enka HS - First Alabama signee from the state of North Carolina; led her high school to back-to-back state titles.
- OF Kayla Davis FR, Hueytown, Ala. / Hueytown HS - Hit four home runs in six games of the fall exhibition season.
- IF Taylor Clark JR, Mechanicsburg, Pa. - Transferred from Virginia Tech where she hit .247 and slugged .519 with five home runs, five doubles, 15 runs scored and 18 RBI in 2018 as a sophomore. (According to U of A Athletics Department, there is no requirement in softball for transfers to sit out a year, unless they come from another SEC school. ?!??!)
- RHP Sarah Cornell JR, Westbury, NY - Transferred from Hofstra where she posted a 23-9 record and was named 2018 CAA Pitcher of the Year.
- RHP Krystal Goodman JR, Long Beach, MS - Juco transfer from Chipola College (FL) where she was 2018 NJCAA D1 Pitcher of the Year and first team All-American after posting a 26-2 record. The Lady Indians finished as the national runner-up with a 56-4 record.
- RHP Montana Fouts FR, Grayson, KY - Fouts was named the 2018 MaxPreps National High School Softball Player of the Year and Gatorade Player of the Year two years in a row. She went 37-1 with a 0.09 ERA while striking out 481 in 232 innings. She also batted .566 with 12 home runs and 71 RBIs. Fouts could be the future of Alabama softball.
WAIT TIL NEXT YEAR!
In November, Alexis Kilfoyl signed a National Letter of Intent with Alabama for the 2019 season. She is ranked No. 2 overall on Extra Innings Softball’s class of 2019 list and No. 16 on FloSoftball’s Hot 100. This is softball’s equivalency of a 5-star.
The National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) ranks Alabama No. 9 in their preseason poll. USA Softball has them at No. 11.
SEE THE TIDE ON THE ROAD
Alabama’s first games of the 2019 season will be played at the Troy Tournament on the campus of Troy University. Next, they head west to Tuscon, Arizona for the Hillenbrand Invitational.
If you find yourself in southeast Alabama that weekend or if you are part of the proud Tide contingent in Arizona, make your way out and give Alabama a “Home Game” feel.
Feb 8 (FRI) Murray State 12:30pm CT
Feb 8 (FRI) Troy 5:30pm CT
Feb 9 (SAT) Maryland 10am
Feb 9 (SAT) Murray State 12:30pm CT
Feb 10 (SUN) Troy 12:30pm CT
Feb 15 (FRI) vs. USF 12:15pm CT / 11:15am MT
Feb 15 (FRI) vs. New Mexico 2:30pm CT / 1:30pm MT
Feb 16 (SAT) vs. Cal State Fullerton 2:30pm CT / 1:30pm MT
Feb 16 (SAT) at Arizona 4:45pm CT / 3:45pm PT
Feb 17 (SUN) vs. Illinois-Chicago 12:15pm CT / 11:15am MT
The Crimson Tide will have their home opener Friday, Feb 22 with Game 1 vs. Missouri State at 4pm CT, and Game 2 vs. Minnesota at 6pm CT.