Next Friday, Alabama softball begins their 23rd season on the diamond with a 12:30 PM first pitch against the Murray State Racers.

For all but two seasons in program history, Patrick Murphy has held the coaching reins and led the Crimson Tide to national prominence including a national championship in 2012.

In a recent visit on The Gary Harris Show, Alabama's head softball coach provided his thoughts on the upcoming season.

Going into the new season, Murphy expressed his satisfaction with his squad's conditioning.

"I've really been happy with everyone so far. I think everybody came back in pretty good shape after Christmas break." Murphy said.

The biggest changes that you could see for Alabama is from the pitching circle. With the departure of All-American hurler Alexis Osorio, five pitchers will have a chance to contribute heavily for the Tide in 2019.

Of the five pitchers on the roster, senior Courtney Gettins and sophomore Madison Preston are the only members of the staff to have pitched against Division I competition. For Patrick Murphy, one of his biggest areas of concern for the pitchers isn't their talent but how well they accept their roles and believe in each other.

"I think the biggest obstacle really is getting the young ladies on the staff to believe in this staff because everyone one of them, when they pitched, if they didn't go seven innings, they thought it was a failure." Murphy said.

Traditionally, Alabama has fielded rosters with just three pitchers on the staff. With the addition of two more hurlers to the roster, Murphy emphasized how this will help keep his pitchers fresh for late in the season.

"The best thing about this is we're going to have somebody that is fresh in April and May and not just February and March." Murphy said.

While Baily Hemphill, Elissa Brown and Kaylee Tow are expected to be the mainstays in the lineup, Alabama's head softball coach thinks one returning junior has an opportunity to make a big impact in 2019.

"This year, one of the keys is the emergence of Claire Jenkins. Her entire game has just been so much better this year. There is a huge difference in her, and everybody saw it this summer in our eight-day practice before we went to Japan. She's been the most consistent hitter all fall. If she has even just close to the year that she's performing at now in practice, we're going to have a really good three-four-five-six-seven in the lineup because it's been exciting to see." Murphy said.

Later in the conversation, Murphy talked about the explosion of softball throughout Alabama and the rise of softball in the SEC.

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