#5 Alabama Softball 2018 Preview

Alabama Crimson Tide
Overall Rank: #5
Conference Rank: #2 SEC
 Alabama Logo
Alabama comes into the 2018 season looking to get back to the Women’s College World Series after falling short of Oklahoma City in 2017. The Crimson Tide had a strong 2017 season as they won 46 games and knocked out Minnesota in the Tuscaloosa Regional. However, Alabama had to go Gainesville to take on Florida in the Gainesville Regional and just could not get enough going offensively against the Gators in that series. Things are looking very positive for the Crimson Tide heading into the 2018 season. They bring back just about everybody from their everyday lineup, which should lead to a bit more explosive of an Alabama team at the plate this season.
2017: 46-18, 12-11
2017 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Patrick Murphy
Key Departed Players:
Chandler Dare, OF, .296 BA, 1 HR, 13 RBI, 11 SB
Marisa Runyon, IF, .236 BA, 3 HR, 29 RBI
Sydney Littlejohn, P, 1.31 ERA, 17-9 W-L, 176.0 IP, 36 BB, 187 SO
Key Returning Players:
Demi Turner, IF, .378 BA, 1 HR, 15 RBI, 19 SB
Bailey Hemphill, UTIL, .309 BA, 9 HR, 41 RBI
Merris Schroder, OF, .303 BA, 4 HR, 24 RBI
Elissa Brown, OF, .290 BA, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 31 SB
Gabby Callaway, OF, .274 BA, 1 HR, 11 RBI
Reagan Dykes, C, .250 BA, 4 HR, 24 RBI
Peyton Grantham, IF, .240 BA, 7 HR, 39 RBI
Alexis Osorio, P, 1.21 ERA, 23-8 W-L, 203.0 IP, 106 BB, 334 SO
Scoring more runs should be a point of emphasis right from the start of the season for the Crimson Tide after only scoring 266 runs last season. For Alabama to get back into that Semifinal Sunday/WCWS Championship Series conversation, they need to be score around 350-400 runs by the end of the season. Demi Tuner is back again this season after hitting .378 in 2017 with 19 stolen bases. Elissa Brown is another outstanding speed threat as she stole 31 bases while hitting .290. Bailey Hemphill and Peyton Grantham are the top two returning power hitters from 2017 and are both very capable of hitting at least ten homeruns apiece. Merris Schroeder and Reagan Dykes will be additional run producing threats in the everyday lineup that should only continue to get better as the 2018 season moves along. Alexis Osorio is the ace in the circle for the Crimson Tide. Osorio can be very lethal when she has complete command of her pitches. She struck out 334 batters in 203.0 innings pitched last season with a 1.21 earned run average. It is a fair expectation that Osorio will contend for National Pitcher of the Year honors all year long. Courtney Gettins should end up taking the place of Sydney Littlejohn as the number two starter after posting a 35-1 record with a 1.46 earned run average at Florida Southwestern in 2017. The schedule is always packed with stiff competition as Florida State visits for the Easton Bama Bash. In addition, the Crimson Tide will head out to Seattle to take on Washington and BYU to highlight the Husky Softball Classic. A trip to Auburn to start SEC play will set the tone for the conference slate that will bring Florida and Texas A&M to Rhoads Stadium. Bottom line, if Alabama to can get back to being more dynamic at the plate, then they should be back in Oklahoma City this season.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament
Madness 2018 Draft Rankings:
#3 Slexis Osorio