The End of the Decade kinda snuck up most people. It will take some time to digest the era before it can be looked at in a different perspective to know what defined it. In sports, one thing that will be a hallmark of the 10’s was the Alabama football dynasty. To a lesser degree, Alabama softball also emerged as a major power. The Crimson Tide is now a regular participant in the post-season with the crowning achievement being the 2012 World Series Championship. Alabama advanced to the Super Regionals in every year of the last decade and qualified for the World Series six times.
The changing of the calendar to 2020 brought a variety of Team of Decade lists from around the country. So, here for your enjoyment and debate is my attempt at the “Alabama Crimson Tide Softball Team Of The Decade”.
BEST TEAM OF THE DECADE
Clearly, it was the 2012 team that won the Women’s College World Series Champion over Oklahoma in a memorable Rain Dance Game. This team went 60–8 overall and 23–5 in the SEC. Their World Series win was a game-changer in the world of college softball. It was the first win by an SEC team, breaking the stranglehold of the PAC-12/PAC-10 who had claimed 21 of the previous 24 championships among four different schools.
PLAYER OF THE DECADE
CF Haylie McCleney - Four-time All-American, four-time All-Defensive Team, career batting average of .447, plus 118 stolen bases. School records in batting average, on base percentage, walks and triples. Member of the elite .400 average, 300 hits, 200 runs, 100 stolen bases club. Watch for her this summer at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
PITCHER OF THE DECADE
Jackie Traina - The J-Train recorded a 106-21 record over her Alabama career with a tiny 2.03 ERA and cut down 976 batters via the strikeout. She also batted .326 with 38 home runs and 136 RBI. Was named All-American all four seasons.
MANAGER OF THE DECADE
Patrick Murphy - Well, duh. Ten year record of 504-135, 172-75 in the SEC. Five of his six SEC Regular Season Championships came in the last decade (2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2019), and two of his four SEC Tournament Championships (2010, 2012).
TEAM OF THE DECADE BY POSITION
1B - Bailey Hemphill (2017-2019) - Heading into her senior season, this All-American has clubbed 48 home runs and 173 RBI in 182 games. Her career batting average is a robust .343 and has scored 99 runs. (*Also plays catcher but has many more starts at first)
2B - Demi Turner (2015-2018) - Hit over .400 in two of her four seasons, lifetime BA of .383 with 209 hits and 50 stolen bases. Named to the All-American team in 2015.
SS - Kaila Hunt (2011-2014) - The two-time All-American has a career BA of .329 with 58 HR, 215 RBI.
CF - Haylie McCleney (2013-2016) - see above
LF - Kayla Braud (2010-2013) - An astonishing career batting average of .471, 344 hits, 271 runs, 182 stolen bases. Three-time All-American, probably should’ve been four.
RF - Kaylee Tow (2018-2019) - In two seasons of 125 games, she already has 107 hits, 93 runs and 93 RBI. Twice named All-American.
C - Reagan Dykes (2016-2019) - Rock-solid behind the plate, she started 213 games and played in 234 over four season. She had 152 hits, 105 runs scored, 29 home runs and 119 RBI. More importantly, she caught a really good game.
P - Jackie Traina (2011-2014) - see above
P - Kelsi Dunne (2010-2011) - Two of her four seasons at the Capstone were in the past decade. She was third team All-American as a junior and first team as a senior. She holds numerous Alabama pitching records such as lowest opponent batting average (.165), most strikeouts per seven innings (9.82) and most strikeouts (1,219). She also threw nine no-hitters in her college career.
P - Montana Fouts (2019) - Although she has played only one season for the Tide so far, Fouts was so good during her freshmen year that it merits including her here. She finished Year 1 with a 1.39 ERA and a 21-6 record over 181.2 innings. She victimized 193 batters to strikeouts and held opponents batting average to .175.
P - Alexis Osorio (2015-2018) Career record 79-34, 1.83 ERA, 1,063 strikeouts, two-time All-American. Threw a seven-inning perfect game with a school record 19 strikeouts.
UTIL - Amanda Locke (2010-2012) - Not counting 2009, this first base/pitcher hit .301, 126 hits, 91 runs, 45 HR and 131 RBI. Locke was 51-17 in the circle with a 2.64 ERA. She was named All-American as a senior.
HONORABLE MENTION - Charlotte Morgan was a dominant force at the plate and in the circle. Although playing only one year of the past decade (2010), she was honored as a two-time SEC Player of the Year (2009-10), three-time NFCA first-team All-American (2008-10), and selected as the top overall pick in the National Pro Fastpitch College Senior Draft by the USSSA Pride.
Others of note: P Sydney Littlejohn, C Kendall Dawson, C Molly Fichtner, 1B Leona Lafaele, OF Elissa Brown, OF KB Sides, IF Skylar Wallace, UTIL Whitney Larsen, CF Jennifer Fenton, UTIL Amanda Locke
Who did I leave? Lemme know about.