2023 Alabama Softball Schedule – After a disastrous finish to last season, the No. 27 Crimson Tide softball team and the Montana Fouts have one last shot at the WCWS Championship.
RBR returns for another spring of Alabama softball coverage. For over a decade, we’ve provided comprehensive coverage, and we do so honestly, as we see it. Sometimes it can be critical. This is who we are and we will not change for the angry mob. If you want unicorns and lollipops, there are plenty of others who will happily blow the sun off your nether regions. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s start the preview.
2023 Alabama Softball Schedule
The disappointment of losing in the 2021 WCWS Final Four was compounded by last season’s postseason collapse. While most teams would be over the moon over the 44-13 record the Tide had last season, they wouldn’t trade it for how things ended.
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Despite the offensive debt, Alabama started the season quite well, winning its first 20 games, including a blowout win over 2022 WCWS participant Arizona, a two-game sweep of WCWS runner-up Texas, and a doubleheader of Virginia Tech, all of which ended in shutouts. the season in the top 10.
Then the SEC games in Baton Rouge began to reveal the cracks in the foundation. The Crimson Tide won most conference series (two of three or a sweep) until that fateful April night in College Station, Texas, where Bama dropped two of three to the Aggies. They would then fall to Western Kentucky and then get shut out by Mizzou in the first round of the SEC Softball Tournament. This would be followed by a move to a mediocre Stanford team that played in the Tuscaloosa region. It will be the first time the Tide will not play in a super regional.
Two veteran players who were expected to play big roles essentially left the team. The pair of freshmen, who started the season on fire, grew cooler the longer they played with the Tide. All four of those individuals later left the team and went to another school.
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Rumors of “personal conflicts” over the past two years may have contributed to the implosion last season. Team26 didn’t feel like a team. They were more like splinter groups working on pure athletic talent. Often at home games, the chants and boos were much louder from the opposing teams than from the purple and white.
Bama finished 44-13 and 18-8 in the SEC. After a pre-season ranking of 2nd, they finished well at number 17/18. Montana Fouts was the Tide’s lone All-American (second team).
Everything in the program was getting old, and a change was needed in the coaching staff. Alabama got that change, just not the right one. Former pitching coach Stephanie Van Brackle Prothro has left the team to take over in Memphis, and we wish her the best.
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SVBP was replaced by the Lance McMahon inspired hire to lead the pitching staff. However, this team really needs a real hitting coach.
[SIDE NOTE: After several years of controversy over objections from mid-major programs, the NCAA DI Board finally approved the hiring of a third paid coach for softball, baseball and ice hockey. However, the new rule does not take effect until July 1.]
Allison Habetz returns for her 88th season to clap her hands in the first base box. Former Tide catcher Ryan Iamurri returns for a second season as a volunteer assistant coach.
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So much for that incredible 2022 recruiting class. Three of them, and arguably the BEST three, were transferred after one season.
Why does it seem like these transfers, like KB Sides to Arkansas last year, will come back to haunt the wave?
Thanks to 2020 Tide fans of the infamous Captain Trips Super High Season Eligibility Declaration can enjoy the brilliance of Montana Fouts for one final season. Also returning for the final curtain call are catcher Ellie Shipman and Ashley Prange at third base. They are joined by outfielder Jenna Johnson, who is entering her fourth season with the Tide, and third-year infielder Bailey Dowling to form the core of the team.
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Remember that freshman class I mentioned above? Three of the six return, but none of them knocked our socks off last year.
Clearly, Murphy was caught off guard by the massive transfer leak. Before this whole NCAA free agency debacle, Bama’s manager was a master at signing new players to fill expected holes for the upcoming campaign.
The confusion is that softball’s Signage Day is in November; one year and three months before that team took the field. I don’t think when Murphy was recruiting in 2021 for the 2023 class, he expected Kilfoyle and three freshmen who hadn’t even pitched an inning to be gone already. Let’s hope these newcomers can fill the unexpected holes.
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Perhaps the strangest story of the offseason is Michigan’s acquisition of Lauren Esman. What this team needed more than anything was a No. 2 starting pitcher that Fouts could pass the baton to as the future No. 1. Instead, Murphy takes a big chance on a lightweight who has pitched in all two college seasons. innings and that was in 2020. Murphy held his first press conference of the season with at least six different “reporters” fielding questions and NOT ONE PEOPLE asking about this strange situation.
Last season, many Bama fans lamented that all the top teams were playing in the Clearwater Tournament and the Tide were playing in ridiculously small cookie-cutter tournaments (and not exactly celebrating them). This year, the Crimson Tide is included in that invitational and will face upstart Duke, overpowered UCLA, dangerous UCF, Indiana and Tide foe Florida State.
The bad news is that there are a lot of “stupid little tournaments” to go along with the trip to Clearwater. The rest of the SEC schedule is full of silly games, all in Tuscaloosa. Opponents are Lehigh, Georgia Southern, Samford, Kennesaw State, Southeastern Louisiana, Indiana State, Southern Miss, Robert Morris, Longwood, Mercer, Western Michigan and a road game at UAB. Phew That’s Jim Harbaugh level of scary.
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Right now, the schedule ramps up in March with two games in Texas for the Bevo Classic. That is followed by one game each against Texas State and Wisconsin in Austin.
After that, there is one match in Florence on March 14 against UNO. Note that general admission tickets are $20 and parking is another $5.
After that, it’s on to conference play. SEC foes are Arkansas, Tennessee, Mizzou, South Carolina, Miss State, Auburn, LSU and Ole Miss. Fortunately, the Tide aren’t playing in Georgia, so they won’t have to watch Goodnight steal seven bases and score 20 runs along the way. SEC POY on the season. Bama also misses Erin Koffel and Kayla Kovalik to Kentucky, Skylar Wallace-led Florida and the dreaded Texas A&M.
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And due to unpopular demand, the two games on Tuesday in April are in Huntington, WV against Marshall and Liberty (
). H-town is probably as close a game as you can get to Fouts’ hometown of Grayson, Ky. You may recall that last year’s trip to WKU to honor Kaylee Cow would have started a downward spiral. It’s a nice gesture, but for Pete’s sake, do this crap earlier in the season, or better yet, during the fall show season. Let’s hope this fun trip is even better this year.
2 hours before our first spring practice on the field. There are already six girls here… all upperclassmen trying to soak in every minute… or every hour I guess. ❤️ (P.S. the rest of the team, this doesn’t mean you have to be here this early) — Ryan Iamurri (@RyanIamurri32) January 8, 2023
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Of all the ways to follow this team, this might be the hardest read. Last year’s team had the talent to make it to Oklahoma City. But unforeseen personality clashes doomed them to failure. Murphy has always been a player’s coach, perhaps to a fault at times. A manager wants everyone on his team to be together, but ultimately he has to be the personal decision maker.
Late last week, Murphy mentioned having a “low maintenance” team, which was obviously missed by all the “reporters” in the room, but it made my ears perk up, “no drama.” For better or worse, everyone seems to be on lock down this year. Everyone seems giddy and eager to get the season started. But there are many questions.
Murphy noted that he had “seven green-light girls,” meaning they had the green light to steal a base without the coach’s permission. Which leads to speculation that he intends to continue his old slap ‘n’ dash/chaos on the baseline strategy over the power play that other major programs have adopted. I guess we’ll find out on February 10th against the mighty Lehigh Jackalopes