The week that was in Alabama softball Patrick Murphy’s 2019 Crimson Tide softball team got off to a great start at Troy’s Trojan Classic over the weekend. Bama is now 5-0 after sweeping the event and only playing one contest that was truly ever in doubt. Bama Friday defeated Murray State handily 12-0 in five innings and then downed host Troy 7-1. That second game marked the collegiate debut of freshman phenom Montana Fouts in the pitching circle, and she didn’t disappoint. Fouts, last year’s second-rated high school pitcher in America, went all seven innings, allowed four hits, one earned run, and posted nine strikeouts without waking a batter. She is clearly the Friday/Sunday pitcher once SEC play begins. Interesting note: Fouts is believed to be the first UA pitcher to wear a protective mask while in the circle. In the past Murphy has discouraged this. It’s tough to change something in a star like Fouts, though. Saturday, the Tide shut out Maryland in five innings 10-0 before facing Murray State again. The Racers made Bama work as the Tide had to come from behind twice before hanging on for a 16-10 win. “In college softball, too many people have good kids and if you don’t come ready to play, things like that can happen,” Murphy noted. Fouts took the circle again Sunday and again shined. The 6-2 USA National Team member needed six innings to complete an 8-0 win. Fouts allowed three hits and again walked no one. She had four strikeouts. Suffice it to say that Troy was glad to see her – and Alabama – leave town. There were other fine pitching performances two for the Tide. 2018 junior college pitcher of the year Krystal Goodman, like Fouts, is off to a 2-0 start and has only allowed one run. The other win was posted by Hofstra transfer Sarah Cornell. All the wins for the weekend were posted by newcomers. Returnees Madison Preston and Courtney Gettins both struggled in the Murray State win. Based on the weekend, Goodman seems to be a good guess as the SEC Saturday pitcher, but as they say these days, it’s fluid. Murphy seems to have settled on his defensive lineup and batting order. Former right fielder Kaylee Tow began her sophomore year at first base. She fared well at the plate hitting .692 and in the field. Last year’s backup second baseman, sophomore Maddie Morgan, is now at third. Freshman and USA national team member Skylar Wallace is at second, while last year’s third baseman Claire Jenkins is at short and the Cullman junior handled herself well there. Jenkins also blasted a pair of homers in the opener. She seems to be playing with more confidence this season. The outfield is senior Merris Schroder in left, junior Elissa Brown in center and sophomore KB Sides in right. The catcher is senior Reagan Dykes, while DP duties and backup catching is handled by power hitter Bailey Hemphill. That group did the vast majority of the hitting. The 3-4-5 hitters Tow, Hemphill and Dykes already have two homers and 17 RBI’s between them. Hemphill alone has 11 runs driven in. Murphy says those three put in a lot of off season work to get better. “All three of them put in a lot of time on their own in the (batting) cage,” he said. Next up for the ninth-ranked Tide is another road trip. Bama will play in Tucson, AZ in the Hellenbrand Invitational. On Friday UA faces USF at 3 p.m. CT and then New Mexico. Saturday opponents are Cal State-Fullerton and host Arizona. Sunday Bama takes on Illinois-Chicago.

Comments