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2022 Alabama Softball Team26 Wrap Up

A season that started out so strong, turned sour for the Crimson Tide in the last month.

Syndication: Tuscaloosa News
“Lord I’m so tired/How long can this go on?“ ~ Devo
Gary Cosby Jr. / USA TODAY NETWORK

Everybody knows/That the world is full of stupid people
~ From the song “Banditos” by The Refreshments

Let me begin by stating unequivocally that Alabama softball coach Patrick Murphy has never been under suspicion for attempting to take another human’s life in that the other would cease living and he would be questioned by law enforcement for such a thing. This is not a “ Craig James” meme thing. Murphy truly is innocent of such potential transgressions. He is allegedly gentle as a butterfly. Is that clear enough for EVERYONE?

Next order of business is clearing up a few things about us here at RBR. We don’t do click bait. We don’t get paid per click. We do get paid but to be honest, the kid you pay to cut your grass probably makes more than we do. I know I can speak for everyone on the Masthead when I say that we would do this site even if only each other and maybe our moms read it. It is for fun and a shared love of the Alabama Crimson Tide.

The next thing we do not do is sunshine pump. We are not going to compliment the Emperor on his new clothes when he is not wearing a single stitch. We have no asses to kiss. We call them as we see them. What we DO do is snark, sarcasm, and satire. We believe that you the readers are intelligent to know the difference and don’t get triggered. We also do thoughtful analysis with no agenda. If you can’t handle any of that, I suggest you move along to another source that will tell you what you want to hear.

Now, onto final thoughts of the 2022 Crimson Tide softball season.

For the first time since Super-Regionals were introduced in 2005, Alabama softball will not advance out of the first round. It is small consolation, but three other seeded teams are going home early as well.

  1. Oklahoma
  2. Florida State Mississippi State
  3. Virginia Tech
  4. Arkansas
  5. UCLA
  6. Alabama Stanford
  7. Oklahoma State
  8. Arizona State
  9. Northwestern
  10. Clemson
  11. Tennessee Oregon State
  12. Duke
  13. Washington
  14. Florida
  15. Missouri Arizona
  16. UCF

The PAC-12 sucks in football (not satire), but they are still powers in softball. They have five teams move on to the Supers. The ACC, B12, and SEC have three each. The AAC and B1G will have one representative each.

Normal Super Regional - No. 16 UCF vs. No. 1 Oklahoma
Tempe Super Regional - No. 9 Northwestern at No. 8 Arizona State
Los Angeles Super Regional - No. 12 Duke at No. 5 UCLA
Fayetteville Super Regional - Texas at No. 4 Arkansas
Blacksburg Super Regional - No. 14 Florida at No. 3 Virginia Tech
Palo Alto Super Regional - Oregon State at Stanford
Stillwater Super Regional - No. 10 Clemson at No. 7 Oklahoma State
Starkville Super Regional - Arizona at Mississippi State

In a strange turn of events, the Crimson Tide was 11-1 against the above teams during the 2022 regular season. Bama swept three games from Mississippi State, two from Texas, two from Va Tech, and one each against Arizona and Oregon State. The only loss was to Florida who they beat the other two times.

NCAA SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT BRACKET PICK `EM-PALOOZA WINNER IS...

5026 who correctly predicted 11 of 16 teams to move on to the Supers. Congrats! As the winner, your #refund request will move to the top of the heap (if I can find it).

PRESEASON HYPE

The preseason polls tabbed the Crimson Tide as the No. 2 or 3 ranked team.

Montana Fouts and Kaylee Tow made several preseason All-American lists. Fouts, Tow, and Lexi Kilfoyl were all named to the 2022 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Watch List.

Bama had a fantastic recruiting class of Dallis Goodnight, Aubrey Barnhart, Megan Bloodworth, Kali Heivilin, Jenna Lord, and Jordan Stephens.

Alabama also added two transfers in catcher Ally Shipman from Tennessee and Ashley Prange from Ohio State at third base. These additions would be bigger than anyone could have imagined.

FIRST PITCH

Alabama started out in Arizona at the Candrea Classic. They would tally up some dominating wins that included wins over Arizona and Oregon State. Bloodworth hit a grand slam on her very first collegiate at bat. She had three round-trippers in the weekend and made Bama fans go agog. Goodnight and Prange also had big weekends.

20-0

Alabama started the season on a tear winning 20 straight with two wins each over #8 Virginia Tech 20 ULL, and Texas.

SEC

All those good feels went away as Bama begant the SEC season with a clunker, emphatically losing two of three at LSU. A midweek blown lead against visiting Florida State gave the Tide their third loss in five games, but they would bounce back winning 16 of their next 19.

Then disaster struck when the Tide dropped two of three against SEC doormat Texas A&M which included getting run-ruled. This was followed by a baffling and listless 3-1 loss at Western Kentucky and an 8th inning defeat at the hands of Mizzou.

The Tide would bounce back to win the next two against the Tigers but they would see them again in the first round of the SEC Tournament. Many of the Alabama looked like they did not want to be there and it showed on the field in a 3-0 first round loss.

POST SEASON

Despite the funk Bama was in, the NCAA awarded them Regional hosting duties in Tuscaloosa. The roster of teams Alabama would have to face as compared to other Regionals, looked like a lay-up to the Supers.

The Crimson Tide was able to squeeze by barely .500 Chattanooga b the score of 3-0 but fell flat against Stanford the next day. Bama would again defeat the Mocs in the Losers’ Bracket and then top Cardinal 6-2 on early Sunday morning. But by that point, Montana Fouts was out of gas. The Tide would succumb to the fourth-place Pac-12 team and the season was over.

ACCOLADES

Fouts and Prange were named first team All-SEC. Bailey Dowling and Shipman were second teamers. Despite having the second best fielding percentage (.977) in the SEC, no Bama players made the All-Defensive team.

ISSUES

  • Pitching - An injury to Kilfoyl and inconsistencies of Salter and Torrence against Power foes led to Fouts pitching way too many innings and placing way too much pressure on her to carry the team. B- skewed down due to pitchers not named after a U.S. state.
  • Batting - No power, few and far between clutch hits, and long slumps that lasted for weeks. D+
  • Baserunning - As Erik covered on Monday, there was no chaos on the base paths this year. In addition, the Tide was tenth in the SEC in stolen base percentage (.797). C+
  • Defense - Good. A
  • Attitude - Is there a division on this team? Did Murphy add too many freshmen (six). I am sure this team had vocal leaders such as Shipman, Prange and Johnson but were the others listening? I don’t want to name names, but for a few Tide players it just seemed like they quit. C
  • Coaching - Lousy. Murphy is already legendary in softball circles but he needs to evolve and adapt to the modern game and to the emotions of the modern young woman ages 18-22. I’m not sure how much credit Stephanie VanBrakle-Prothro deserves for Fouts’s success. I think any of us could be her pitching coach and Montana would be great. It’s the other three. Kilfoyl is not living up to her potential and there has been no improvement from Salter or Torrence. I don’t know what Alyson Habetz brings to the team anymore. She is good at holding base runners’ batting pads when they reach base. If she truly loves this program and cares for her boss, she would seek employment elsewhere, because Murphy is not going to fire her in a million years. Texas A&M just fired their coach. That would be a good place to start a second career. F

CONCLUSION

2022 was a rebuilding year. The Tide relied on a lot of new players and struggled to find leaders. After previously landing on NFCA All-American list on three occasions in her career, Tow had a poor season hitting .266 with four home runs. Jenna Johnson got into a big second half slump. Savannah Woodard and Kilfoyl were on the sidelines more than they were in the games.

The Tide was in the bottom third in the conference in almost every offensive statistic. The one thing they led was having the least number of strikeouts.

On the good side, Shipman (.350, 46 RBI) and Prange (.333 ) were excellent additons to the team. And of course, Fouts was Fouts though she won’t get the national recognition she deserves.

Murphy struggled to find the right batting lineup all season and never really settled on one. By the end, he was often pinch-hitting for starters like Bloodworth and Goodnight. Many times, the moves seemed to be based on hunches that came from The Gut®. A few times they worked out, but mostly not.

NEXT YEAR

2023’s team might again look very different. After last season, Alabama lost EIGHT players to graduation and one to a transfer. A few reserves retired from softball due to nagging injuries. This year, only Tow is out of eligibility. However...

Due to the above-mentioned whims of The Gut®, it is this observers opinion that Murphy may have alienated some of his young players. Jenna Lord and Abby Doerr have already entered the Transfer Portal and there are rumors of more forthcoming. Personally, I’d like to see Bloodworth, Goodnight, and Lord return because I believe they all have great potential.

RETURNING

As for now, it seems like the Fouts will be back. Fellow upperclassmen Prange, Shipman, Dowling, and Johnson should all return as well. As for everyone else... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

NEWBIES

  • Abby Duchscherer, IF, Kindred, North Dakota
  • Marlie Giles, UTIL, Clanton, AL
  • Larissa Preuitt, OF, Hartselle, AL

SCHEDULE

We are a long way off from knowing who the Tide will play in 2023, but a few Murphy traditions need to end or be amended.

One, is playing his alma mater ULL. I don’t mind playing the Rajuns. They are a solid program and always a good challenge. But that weak little Louisiana tournament was a waste of time. Playing Laffy is fine, but do it in Tuscaloosa or at the end of a trip to Baton Rouge.

Secondly is the gesture of playing in a senior’s hometown. I like that he does this on occasion but this year’s timing sucked. The team had to take a bus ride from College Station, Texas to Tuscaloosa and then back on a bus to Bowling Green, KY just to honor Tow. And this was in late April with three regular season games left to play. If you want to play those games, do them in February. For the record, Shipman is from the L.A. area. Prange is from metro Indianapolis. Johnson is from the Nashville area. Fouts is from a little town in eastern Kentucky. I hope Murph is not going to try and cover all four of those locales.

COMING UP

In the coming days, RBR will have a deeper dive into what went wrong this season and what needs to happen. We could be hearing a great deal of Transfer Portal in the very near future as well. And maybe perhaps some staff changes?

#Team26 #Team27

#RollTide