March 8, 2020 seems like a lifetime ago. That is the last time the Alabama Crimson Tide softball team competed on the field. Little did we know that the 9-1 victory over Arkansas- highlighted by an Alexis Mack triple- would be the last time we would see Team 24.
Nothing about 2020 was normal. For most, it was actually miserable. Fans of this softball program have been isolated, sick, depressed, and just about any other condition you can think of. We have lost loved ones without being able to say goodbye. We have gone months without seeing each other and the girls we love the cheer for on the diamond. A season with so much hope and optimism was cut short and left us all with an empty, hollow feeling.
It would have been easy for the team to sulk and complain but that’s not the Alabama Softball way. That’s not the culture Patrick Murphy has built. Instantly, the focus turned to what could be done to better the situation. Student athletes, realizing they had an extra year, started work on graduate degrees. They begin to train for the 2021 season- not knowing if or when it would actually be played. Now, they know they will have a season.
On February 12th at 10:30am, Team 25 will take the field for the first time against Colorado State in Austin, TX. The following will be a breakdown of the 2021 schedule and my projected starters.
Like most years, the SEC is stacked in softball. Alabama was ranked #8 in the initial rankings. The SEC landed 3 teams in the Top-10 and 10 in the Top-25. Those rankings are as follows:
#15 Mississippi State
#25 South Carolina
(Teams in bold are on the UA regular season schedule)
As you can see, the SEC will be the usual buzz-saw. However, three other teams show up on both the poll and Alabama’s schedule. Those teams are as follows:
Yep, that’s 10 teams on the regular season schedule against Top 25 teams. Take a look at the schedule and you’ll notice there is very little breathing room. It is highlighted by the following:
• The Texas Classic including games against #4 Arizona and #9 Texas
• The Easton Bama Bash featuring #5 LSU
• A mid-week non-SEC match-up with #15 Mississippi State
• SEC Home series vs #6 Florida, #21 Tennessee, Texas A&M, & Ole Miss
• SEC Road Series at #13 Georgia, #16 Arkansas, #24 Kentucky & auburn
• 2-game weekend series with #7 Louisiana at home.
The full schedule including dates and times can be found at https://rolltide.com/sports/softball/schedule/2021
All Rankings are based on D1 Softball’s Preseason Rankings.
I do not envy Coach Murphy at all when it comes to filling out his lineup card. He has a wealth of talent, but only 9 can play. This is how I see it shaking out for game 1:
P- Montana Fouts
C- Abby Doerr
1st- Bailey Hemphill
2nd- Taylor Clark
3rd- Maddie Morgan
SS- Bailey Dowling
LF- Alexis Mack
CF- Elissa Brown
RF- KB Sides
DP- Kaylee Tow
Remember all that talent I mentioned? UA has 6 pitchers that would start at most D-1 programs, as well as a handful of other players that will see significant playing time. I would expect to see a baseball-style pitching rotation and frequent subs in the field. My thoughts on this will be covered in a future article.
I’m interested to hear what everyone thinks. Let me know your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter.
Stay tuned to http://tidetalksports.com for all your Alabama recruiting and athletics news and analysis. Big things are ahead for the Alabama Crimson Tide, and we’ll tell you all about it.
Hunter Letson is a contributor for Team Tide Talk. Follow him on Twitter @HunterLetson. Always feel free to reach out with questions and comments. Roll Tide.
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