The COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult on athletes at all levels with cancellations, suspended seasons and evasive coronavirus testing. One sport heavily affected by the pandemic was softball. The Alabama softball team had its season cancelled in March, one weekend into the SEC season getting underway.

Today after seven months of inactivity, the Alabama softball team was back together for the first official practice of the upcoming 2021 season.

The Tide returns all seven seniors from last years team after the NCAA granted everyone an extra season of eligibility and also brought in five new freshman, making this year's team one of the deepest teams in Crimson Tide history.

Alabama opened the 2020 season ranked in the top five but finished the shortened season 14-8 and ranked No. 12 in the nation. The Crimson Tide struggled against top end competition last year finishing 2-7 against teams that were ranked in the top 25.

The Crimson Tide returns prominent hitter Bailey Hemphill to the lineup. Hemphill has become one of the more decorated players in program history. She's amassed top-five marks in home runs (50), RBIs (183), slugging percentage (.709) and on-base percentage (.504). During the shortened season, Hemphill was tied for the lead in home runs (2) and was tied for second with a .513 on-base percentage.

Crimson Tide Photos / UA Athletics

Alabama also returns two accomplished pitchers Montana Fouts and Krystal Goodman. Fouts took the circle for 37.2 innings and notched 41 strikeouts for an ERA of 2.04 and a record of 3-3. Goodman pitched 21.2 innings with 16 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.23 but was credited with a 3-0 win-loss record.

The 2021 Alabama softball team has high hopes for the upcoming season, for now it was exciting just to get back on the practice field together.

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