Alabama Softball’s Team 26 Faces Hole to Fill on Offense
Last year, fans of Alabama’s illustrious softball program had plenty of reasons to enjoy the season. They got to enjoy a legendary season of pitching from Montana Fouts, a steady barrage of offense, and another go at the Women’s College World Series. While the Tide came up short in the semi-final round against Florida State, they are determined to play their way back to another opportunity to win when it matters most.
There will be a huge void for the Tide to fill offensively this season. Alexis Mack, Elissa Brown, and Bailey Hemphill have all graduated and moved on with their lives. Mack is now doing public relations work for Disney, Brown is a marketing coordinator for the University, and Hemphill is now a graduate student.
Last season, they combined to account for 151 of the Tide’s 355 runs. That’s 42.5% of the team’s offensive production lost to graduation.
While the Tide defense played well enough last year to still have a positive point differential without their production, Coach Patrick Murphy doesn’t seem to be planning to just lean on his defense this year.
Team 26 will likely showcase a lot of the younger players on the roster. Murphy specifically praised the sheer athleticism of this year’s freshman class. Murphy also expressed great confidence in the batting abilities of every one of the girls he has this year. The barrel has been getting punished repeatedly at practice and, “out of those 16 hitters, all 16 could start somewhere else for sure.” Murphy also sounded like he was prepared to let his players take a lot of chances stealing bases, saying they have about five girls who already have the green light to steal anytime they are on first with a couple more being almost there.
Right now, it seems that the only question mark for the Tide offense is the lead-off batter, but that’s more than alright. Murphy says the problem is that he has a plethora of strong candidates to fill the role. Currently, there are seven girls on the roster who have experience being a lead-off hitter for either their high school or summer ball teams.
Murphy sounded more than confident that the offensive void will be filled. He claims, “the toughest thing for the coaching staff to do this year is going to be writing a line-up,” due to the versatility of all the girls he has this season. Tide fans will be able to see Murphy’s plan come together for themselves at Rhoads Stadium 26 times this season.