The Crimson Tide begins their 26th campaign at they Capstone. They find themselves ranked No. 2 or 3 in the preseason polls. This year they start out in Tucson, Arizona for the Candrea Classic. The tournament is named for Mike Candrea who served 36 seasons as head coach of the Arizona Wildcats before retiring last summer. He finished his career with a record of 1,674–433–2 as the winningest coach in collegiate softball history - plus eight national championships.
HOW TO WATCH... ALLEGEDLY
If you wish to subscribe to FloSoftball.com, you can watch the games on-line. Another possibility is the confusing PAC-12.com website that really doesn’t say whether they will carry any of the Tide’s games or not. If any of you can decipher this idiotic website that just keeps looping around to the same pages, let us know in comments. God forbid the University of Alabama Athletics Department figures out a way to have someone prop up an iPhone and stream it over YouTube or Facebook. Ahhh, my first rant of the year. It must be time to start the season.
- Friday, Feb. 11 vs. Southern Utah – 2 p.m. CT
- Saturday, Feb. 12 vs. Oregon State – 4:30 p.m. CT
- Saturday, Feb. 12 at #9/11 Arizona – 7 p.m. CT
- Sunday, Feb. 13 vs. New Mexico – 12:30 p.m. CT
GAME 1: SOUTHERN UTAH THUNDERBIRDS (20-30 in 2021)
There is not much of a scouting report on SUU. Thanks to the transfer portal, the T-Birds lost three of their best four offensive weapons. Their top returning player is second team all-conference outfielder Josey White. Last season, she hit .386 with 13 home runs and 48 RBI while leading the conference in doubles with 15.
Pitchers Payton Goodrich and Grace Owen both had ERAs over 5 in 2021. SUU also picked up Baylor transfer Madison Lindsey who didn’t even play last season.
Look for a 5 inning game here.
GAME 2: OREGON STATE BEAVERS (20-26 in 2021)
The Beavs play in the ultra-competitive PAC-12 and lose a lot of games. But every now and then they post a W over an Oregon or a Washington.
OSU returns one pitcher to the 2022 roster from last season in veteran Mariah Mazon. She finished 2021 with a 2.30 ERA but a 14-16 record. She will likely face the Tide.
Frankie Hammoude at first base was named first team All-Pac-12 in 2021 for her .360 BA including 17 home runs and 41 RBI.
The Beavers have a whopping 12 freshmen to go with three transfers.
GAME 3: #7/9 ARIZONA WILDCATS (41-15 in 2021)
BIG BOOM FOR BAMA!— NCAA Softball (@NCAASoftball) June 4, 2021
@espn#WCWS x @AlabamaSB pic.twitter.com/JyxmLMb2Bp
Candrea picked a good time to retire from the ‘Cats. Gone are All-Americans Jessie Harper, Dejah Mulipola, and Alyssa Denham. However, fellow All-American Janelle Meoño is back. The sophomore outfielder hit a boisterous .439 last season and scored 45 runs. It is interesting to note that in 164 at bats last year, she walked only 14 times and whiffed on only 16 occasions. Meoño is good at making contact and using her speed to get on base.
Arizona is returning four position starters, three pitchers, and 12 total letter-winners from last year’s 41-15 team. Sharlize Palacios (.348, 18 HR, 57 RBI) and Hanah Bowen (10-4, 2.06 ERA) return to the Wildcats with All-Pac-12 honors.
Arizona is headed up by rookie head coach Caitlin Lowe-Nagy who played for the ‘Cats (2004-2007) and assisted Candrea since 2014.
GAME 4: NEW MEXICO LOBOS (10-36 in 2021)
Seriously, y’all. If Bama does not beat these guys 87-0, I’m gonna be disappointed.