The 2018 Alabama softball team took the field together for the first time Tuesday afternoon as the Crimson Tide officially opened fall practice.

Fundamentals were the focus of the day and will remain so for the early practice sessions during the semester.

“During the fall, we’ll work on all the little things that go into team offense, team defense and individual defense,” UA head coach Patrick Murphy, who enters his 20th season at the helm of the program, said. “The first four weeks of individual practices we focused on offense so we’ll be throwing a lot more now that team practice has started. We have about 12 to 15 offensive executions that need to be memorized. The batter and any runners on base in the situations should know what they need to do without question once the spring rolls around.

“I have a practice checklist that has a lot of things on it and as we go through the fall, I’ll check things off once I think everyone has a good grasp of it. First and third defense, rundowns, relays, cutoffs, everything. We’ll spend more time on those things in the fall and once spring comes around it’s more of a review. At practice in the fall, we may spend 30 minutes on one defensive set while in the spring it might only be five minutes.”

Fall practice will largely be a review for the Tide’s 14 returnees but will be a whole new experience for its six newcomers, which include junior transfer Courtney Gettins and freshmen Kyra Lockart, Maddie Morgan, Madison Preston, Kendall Beth Sides and Kaylee Tow.

“We have six new players out of 20 on the roster, so the first week will really be to get them acclimated,” Murphy said. “The number one thing that usually overwhelms a freshman is the speed of the game, so we’re going to try and get them used to how fast college softball is.”

Aside from practice, the acclimation process for the newcomers includes four doubleheaders in the fall at Rhoads Stadium, their first experience playing in front of the Crimson Tide faithful, wearing the uniform and playing at game speed. The fall slate opens Friday, Oct. 13 against Mobile College (5 p.m. CT) and continues Sunday, Oct. 15 against Wallace-Hanceville (1:30 p.m. CT), Friday, Oct. 20 against Shelton State (5 p.m. CT) and Sunday, Oct. 22 against Auburn-Montgomery (1:30 p.m. CT). Admission for all fall doubleheaders is $5.

“We’ll play four fall doubleheaders and every lineup will be different,” Murphy said. “I’ll put them in multiple lineup positions just to get some experience, especially the freshmen. It’s more of a learning experience. The fall games are a dress rehearsal for the new players. It’s more for them and the fans. We do the same pregame routine that we do in the spring so they get used to that. The quicker they get used to it, the better they’ll be. It’s a good time for them to get used to what it’s like being an Alabama softball player.”

Guidance on how to be an Alabama softball player will not only come from the coaching staff but from its six-player senior class, the second-largest senior class in program history. This year’s group includes two time All-American Alexis Osorio, 2017 All-Region honoree Demi Turner along with Rachel Bobo, Sydney Booker, Carrigan Fain and Peyton Grantham.

“Every one of the seniors brings something different to the table,” Murphy said. “Demi Turner goes 100 percent all the time, whether it’s offense, defense, weight room or whatever. Rachel Bobo was a three-year walk on who was awarded a scholarship this year and is similar to Demi in that she always keeps the energy up. Carrigan Fain is a really good leader both on and off the field. Sydney Booker leads by example and works really hard on the field. Peyton Grantham has come a long way from her freshman year to now in her fifth year. She’s a great servant leader. Alexis Osorio has made it a goal to be more of a vocal leader. She’s obviously gotten it done on the field but wants to step into a more vocal role. I think she’s relishing that role of the senior leader in the bullpen.”