TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — The Alabama Softball team hosted their annual fan day Saturday, allowing fans and media a chance to see this year’s team at Rhoads Stadium.
Players walked through the stands to mingle with fans before an intrasquad scrimmage for those in attendance.
Coach Patrick Murphy and senior Haylie McCleney were available for interviews before Fan Day. Here are some highlights of what they had to say:
- Murphy believes the 20th team in Alabama history will be the fastest team the school has ever had. He says nine girls have the “green light” to steal if they reach base. “If they get on base, I think we’re going to be a very, very quick team,” he said. “For most of them, if they put it on the ground or if it bounces twice, they’re going to be safe.”
- Murphy had lots of praise for McCleney as the leader of this year’s team, calling her the hardest worker on the team along with the best player. McCleney has been starting for Team USA in center field and Murphy knows that is no easy feat. “To me, not only is she the best outfielder in the country, she’s the best outfielder in the world.” “If he’s going to say that, I’m a product of my environment,” McCleney said. “I don’t think I would be in the position I am with the national team if it wasn’t for Coach Murphy and the staff and the culture we have here at Alabama.”
- Murphy also says other coaches have called McCleney a “mini Scott Cochran” with the way she leads and yells in the weight room. “We always say energy creates energy, and she’s the best at doing that.” McCleney says it’s a fun comparison and she’ll take it. “I want to be a strength coach. It’s something that I absolutely love doing,” she said. “I think Scott would recognize me in the weight room, but I’m not 100% sure if he knew who that little softball player over there screaming is.”
- Murphy says this is the strongest he has seen any conference perceived in the preseason ever. Alabama sits at 5th in both national polls but has been picked 4th in the SEC. “It’s unbelievable how far this conference has come,” he said. “I don’t even think the Pac-12 has had this before, this many teams ranked. We’ve got nine teams ranked and two got votes…It is definitely a Super Regional every weekend when you play in the SEC.”
To hear all of Murphy’s and McCleney’s comments from Saturday, check out the full interviews in the videos above.
Alabama Softball will begin their season next Friday night against Fordam at the UCF Classic in Orlando, Florida. The first home game is set for February 24th against Troy.
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