#4 Alabama Softball 2015 Preview

Alabama Crimson Tide

Overall Rank: #4
Conference Rank: #2 SEC  
#4 Alabama Softball 2015 Preview
Alabama Team Page


Competition is going to be the name of the game for the 2015 edition of Alabama Softball between a very challenging schedule, the need to replace Jaclyn Traina in the circle, and multiple position battles as well. The Crimson Tide will be looking to once again get back to Oklahoma City after coming up short in the championship series against Florida as the Gators swept Alabama in two games to win the 2014 National Championship.

2014: 53-13, 19-5
2014 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Patrick Murphy

Field Players:
The Crimson Tide should be lethal offensively as they will be led by the best outfielder and all-around player in the sport in Haylie McCleney. McCleney can beat you in multiple ways as she hit .444 with 10 homeruns, 42 runs batted in, 34 stolen bases , 50 walks, and defensively committed just one error. Utility player Jadyn Spencer is back for Alabama and will be another big time power threat in the Crimson Tide lineup. She hit 13 homeruns and drove in 50 runs. Utility player Kallie Case and outfielder Andrea Hawkins are back as well this season and will provide a nice mix of hitting for a high average and speed that will keep opposing pitchers on their toes all season long.

This is going to be a fun competition to watch unfold as Coach Patrick Murphy is probably going to be doing a lot of mixing and matching in the early going to see who can take over for Jaclyn Traina as the ace of the rotation. Leslie Jury was 16-6 last season with a 2.81 earned run average in 24 starts. Jury limited opponents to a .238 batting average, but will need to have a better balance of walks to strikeouts as last season Jury walked 75 and struck out 96 batters. If Jury can have at least a 2:1 strikeout to walk ratio in 2015 that will help greatly for her chances of becoming the ace. Sydney Littlejohn was excellent as freshman, going 11-2 with a 1.49 earned run average while limiting opposing batters to a .197 batting average.

Who to Watch:
The catcher position should be a three-way battle this season between Chuansey Bell, incoming freshman Carrigan Fain, and infielder/catcher Leona Lafaele. Bell has played the most with 33 starts over the course of her career. Fain has a lot of potential, but her challenge is going to be adjusting to the college game as a catcher and that is never easy. Lafaele will spend most of her time at first base, but will be able to provide some offensive punch when she is behind the plate catching.

Final Projection:
When it comes to scheduling the Crimson Tide are among the best in the country at playing a great nonconference schedule. The season opens with a trip to Mobile to play South Alabama and the Jaguars will without question be an NCAA Tournament team. Stanford, Michigan and James Madison will be awaiting Alabama over the course of the following two weekends. Louisiana then comes to Tuscaloosa for the Easton Crimson Classic and a three game series against a Ragin’ Cajuns team that is a serious College World Series threat once again. The rematch with Florida takes place in Tuscaloosa the weekend of March 21-23 and, by that time, the pitching staff should be in a rhythm with defined roles. The road trips to Lexington to play Kentucky and in-state rival Auburn could very well be the defining moment of the 2015 regular season if the Crimson Tide are to win the SEC in 2015. If Alabama can go 4-2 in those six games, that should be enough for them to have a shot winning the SEC. Overall, this team will outscore anybody on any given day and it will come down to solving the pitching rotation in order for the Crimson Tide to get back to the Women’s College World Series and win a national title.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Haylie McCleney, OF, 198
Hits: Haylie McCleney, OF, 88
Home Runs: Jadyn Spencer, UTL, 13
RBIs: Jadyn Spencer, UTL, 50
Runs: Haylie McCleney, OF, 70
Stolen Bases: Haylie McCleney, OF, 34

Wins: Leslie Jury, P, 16
Innings Pitched: Leslie Jury, P, 129.1
Strikeouts: Leslie Jury, P, 96
Complete Games: Leslie Jury, P, 12

Madness 2015 Softball Recruit Rankings:
#18 Alexis Osorio
#30 Carrigan Fain


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