Your old road is rapidly agin’
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’
~ The Times They Are A-Changin’ by Bob Dylan
As we close the book on Team27, it is time to take an early look at Team28. With All-World Montana Fouts out of eligibility, this team will need to take another approach in order to reach the level of success Crimson Tide fans are used to seeing. Whether head coach Patrick Murphy is open to change has yet to be seen.
- Montana Fouts - I have run out of adjectives to describe what a career the Tide ace had. Stats-wise, she is not the top pitcher to hurl for the crimson and white. But she did bring cachet and wooed many fans to the Alabama brand that should have positive repercussions down the road.
- Ashley Prange - A leader on offense and in the dugout, the Bama third baseman slugged 16 home runs and hit 46 RBI to go with a .321 batting average.
- Ally Shipman - Catcher is a tough and intricate position to nail down on a softball team. Shipman played the position very well and was top-notch at handling the pitching staff. At the plate, she hit .307, 6 HR, 35 RBI. Her team leadership will be missed as well,
- Faith Hensley - 2022’s MAC Player of the Year never found a groove in Tuscaloosa and saw herself mostly relegated to pinch-running roles. She finishes her one season in T-town with a .235 average with two dingers and 8 RBI.
- Rising junior Jordan Stephens began the season as a starter but found herself mostly in pinch-running roles by midway through March. This was due mostly to the emergence of freshman Kristen White. With White, Larissa Preuitt, and Jenna Johnson all expected back next season - in addition to Jenna’s kid sister Lauren Johnson coming in - it was looking pretty crowded in the outfield. There is also potential (hope) for Murphy to go out and find an outfielder slugger in the Transfer Portal. Stephens hit .206 (9 for 44) this season.
- Aubrey Barnhart - This sophomore straight up peaced out in February after only four games (0-5 at the plate). The general public will probably never know what prompted the disappearing act of this back-up catcher/infielder. She has already announced her intentions to transfer to Texas Tech.
There is a probability that the Tide will have a few more players exit the program premature. However unlike last year, there are not a lot of grumblings going on.
- KJ Haney made her mark on Crimson Tide lore when she slugged a memorable pinch-hit grand slam in a game at South Carolina in 2022. However, she did not play in a single game in 2023 and as late as the Tide’s brief WCWS appearance, she was seen in a walking boot. Getting injury reports out of Murphy is like trying to find out what happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
- Rising senior outfielder Kat Grill last participated in a game on May 11 and that was as a pinch-runner. Her last start came in mid-April. Is she injured or has she lost her place on the team? She is not eligible for a fifth bonus year in 2025.
- Based on pure speculation, it would make sense that at least one pitcher moved on. However, it feels like the three remaining on staff will all return.
- Somehow, Murphy was able to wrangle Phoenix, AZ pitcher Jocelyn Briski away from PAC-12 country. By all reports, she is an outstanding pitcher, but let’s not throw so much expectation on her as a true freshman.
- As mentioned before, Lauren Johnson will also be joining the fray. As a high school senior, the outfielder hit .584 with nine doubles, three triples, eight home runs, 35 RBIs, scored 52 runs and struck out just four times all season.
LEAVE IT TO BEAVER
Murphy and the Tide staff got a first hand look at Central Arkansas pitcher Kayla Beaver during the Tuscaloosa Regional. Although Alabama never played the Bears, she pitched pretty well in two games.
The highlights of Beaver’s season have to have been her five hit shutout win over Arkansas and two hit shutout win over Utah. She also ridiculously threw 11.0 innings (144 pitches) against Liberty in the ASUN Tournament and allowed only seven hits and one earned run in the 2-1 win.
The lowlight was getting hammered by Oklahoma State in which she gave up 13 hits and seven earned runs. Despite getting a run-rule win over North Florida, Beaver was touched for four earned runs over 5.0 innings. LSU collected five hits and two earned runs over 4.0 innings.
She was 25-7 on the season. In her seven defeats, her team scored only 10 runs in support and she had four one-run losses, twice with her team being shutout. Her season ERA was 1.15. Beaver has one super-senior year of eligibility remaining.
Hitting stats for the entire season and against SEC foes only are available on rolltide.com. Because I adore you all so much, I took it one step further and compiled what I consider stats against “Power” teams. Basically, it is numbers against all SEC, ACC (Duke, FSU), PAC (UCLA, Stanford), B12 (Texas), B1G (Ind, Wisc, NW), and a few other non-P5 teams I deemed worthy in UCF, Liberty, and Marshall.
This list is for the top returning players:
For the record, only Dowling’s slugging percentage approaches respectability.
Power stats only:
|Feb 18, 2023||vs UCF||W||3||4||3||3||1||0||2||0||3||0||0||40||6-5||0||0||0||7.00|
|Mar 12, 2023||vs Wisconsin||L||3.2||1||2||0||1||0||0||1||4||0||3||73||6-7||0||0||0||0.00|
|Mar 19, 2023||Arkansas||L||2.1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||34||3-5||0||0||0||0.00|
|Mar 26, 2023||at Tennessee||L||2.2||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||2||0||0||52||5-7||0||0||0||0.00|
|Apr 2, 2023||at Mizzou||L||1.1||3||5||5||1||0||0||2||2||1||1||56||3-11||0||0||0||26.25|
|Apr 8, 2023||South Carolina||L||4||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||3||1||1||69||1-3||0||0||0||0.00|
|Apr 22, 2023||Auburn||L||3||2||1||1||0||0||1||1||2||0||0||47||1-5||0||0||0||2.33|
|Apr 29, 2023||LSU||L||3.2||4||2||2||0||0||0||3||2||1||0||73||1-6||0||0||0||3.82|
|May 7, 2023||at Ole Miss||L||2||3||2||2||0||0||2||0||0||0||0||30||4-5||0||0||0||7.00|
|May 12, 2023||vs Tennessee||L||3.1||2||2||2||0||0||1||3||3||0||0||65||6-7||0||0||0||4.20|
|May 26, 2023||Northwestern||L||3.2||2||0||0||0||0||0||1||3||0||1||61||1-3||0||0||0||0.00|
|May 27, 2023||at Northwestern||W||4.1||7||1||1||0||0||0||2||4||1||0||87||2-1||0||0||0||1.62|
|May 28, 2023||Northwestern||W||3.1||3||1||1||0||0||0||2||2||0||0||58||3-2||0||0||0||2.10|
|Jun 1, 2023||vs Tennessee||L||2.1||6||6||2||2||0||1||1||3||0||1||67||5-10||0||1||0||6.00|
|Feb 18, 2023||vs UCF||W||1.1||2||2||2||0||0||1||0||2||1||1||34||6-5||0||0||0||10.50|
|Mar 10, 2023||at Texas||L||3.0||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||3||0||0||45||3-5||0||0||0||0.00|
|Mar 12, 2023||vs Wisconsin||L||0.2||1||1||1||1||0||0||0||1||0||0||9||6-7||0||0||0||10.50|
|Mar 19, 2023||Arkansas||L||2.1||2||3||3||1||0||0||5||1||0||0||53||3-5||0||1||0||9.00|
|Mar 25, 2023||at Tennessee||W||7.0||5||2||2||0||0||0||2||2||0||0||111||4-2||1||0||0||2.00|
|Mar 26, 2023||at Tennessee||L||0.2||3||2||1||2||0||0||0||1||0||0||14||5-7||0||0||0||10.50|
|Apr 2, 2023||at Mizzou||L||2.2||5||5||1||2||0||1||2||0||0||0||47||3-11||0||1||0||2.62|
|Apr 15, 2023||at Mississippi State||W||7.0||3||0||0||0||0||0||1||1||0||0||92||6-0||1||0||0||0.00|
|Apr 18, 2023||vs Liberty||L||2.1||1||2||2||0||0||1||2||1||0||0||36||3-5||0||0||0||6.00|
|Apr 22, 2023||Auburn||L||4.0||4||4||0||1||0||1||1||3||0||0||67||1-5||0||1||0||0.00|
|Apr 29, 2023||LSU||L||2.2||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||42||1-6||0||0||0||0.00|
|May 7, 2023||at Ole Miss||L||4.0||4||1||1||0||0||1||0||1||1||0||59||4-5||0||0||0||1.75|
|May 11, 2023||at Arkansas||W||2.1||2||1||0||1||0||0||4||1||0||0||45||3-2||1||0||0||0.00|
|May 12, 2023||vs Tennessee||L||2.0||3||5||5||1||0||2||2||1||0||0||35||6-7||0||1||0||17.50|
|Jun 1, 2023||vs Tennessee||L||1.0||3||4||4||1||0||1||1||1||0||0||27||5-10||0||0||0||28.00|
* Note to Murphy: Do not pitch Salter against Tennessee.
|Feb 17, 2023||vs UCLA||L||1.1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||18||3-5||0||0||0||0.00|
|Feb 18, 2023||vs Indiana||W||5.0||3||0||0||1||0||0||1||4||0||2||60||10-0||1||0||0||0.00|
|Mar 12, 2023||vs Wisconsin||L||1.0||3||3||3||1||0||0||1||1||0||0||27||6-7||0||0||0||21.00|
|Mar 19, 2023||Arkansas||L||2.1||1||2||1||1||0||0||1||1||0||0||44||3-5||0||0||0||3.00|
|Apr 2, 2023||at Mizzou||L||0.1||2||1||1||0||0||0||2||0||1||0||15||3-11||0||0||0||21.00|
|Apr 8, 2023||South Carolina||L||3.0||3||3||3||0||0||1||1||4||0||2||45||1-3||0||1||0||7.00|
|Apr 18, 2023||at Marshall||W||6.0||1||1||1||0||0||0||1||2||0||0||63||3-1||1||0||0||1.17|
|Apr 29, 2023||LSU||L||0.2||5||4||4||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||23||1-6||0||1||0||42.00|
|May 12, 2023||vs Tennessee||L||0.2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||1||0||8||6-7||0||0||0||0.00|
|Jun 1, 2023||vs Tennessee||L||2.2||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||34||5-10||0||0||0||0.00|
In a word: inconsistent.
Sadly, it does not appear that there will be any changes with the current staff. Pitching coach Lance McMahon did a decent job in his first season at the Capstone and deserves a chance to continue. Alyson Habetz is great at smiling, clapping her hands, and saying motivating cliches to any Tide runners lucky enough to make it to first base. This team does not appear to have a hitting coach.
The NCAA finally passed legislation to allow for a third paid assistant in softball (and baseball) starting next season. Don’t be surprised when Murphy promotes Volunteer Assistant Coach Ryan Iamurri to a full-time gig.