BIRMINGHAM – The Alabama softball team racked up top honors at the SEC softball awards.
The league announced its 2019 winners Tuesday with the Crimson Tide leading the way. Patrick Murphy was named Coach of the Year with Sarah Cornell earning Pitcher of the Year honors. Pitcher Montana Fouts got Freshman of the Year and was an All-SEC, first-team selection.
“Everybody put in the work from day one,” Murphy said. “With the pitching staff, you have to credit assistant coach Stephanie VanBrakle Prothro for all the work she did with five pitchers on the staff. When Sarah contacted us in the fall, I asked Steph if she could do a staff of five and she was on board right away.”
Cornell also earned first-team All-SEC honors alongside junior Bailey Hemphill, who won second-team accolades last season. Sophomore Maddie Morgan and junior Elissa Brown represented the Crimson Tide on the SEC’s second team, the first career honor for Morgan and second for Brown.
Cornell’s Pitcher of the Year award is the sixth in UA history, the first since Jaclyn Traina in 2014, and Fouts is the Tide’s ninth Freshman of the Year and the first since Alexis Osorio in 2015. It’s Murphy’s fifth Coach of the Year award, previously winning in 2006, 2010, 2012 and 2014.
This year’s slate brings Alabama’s total to 102 All-SEC honorees, and its five this season are the most since placing eight on the list in 2012.
“It was a team effort,” Murphy said. “It starts in the circle though. It’s called fastpitch for a reason. When you have good pitchers in the circle, you have a chance to win and that certainly was the case this year.”
Fouts and fellow freshman Skylar Wallace were selected to the Freshman All-SEC team and Cornell and Brown also earned spots on the SEC All-Defensive team. Alabama has had at least one player on the Freshman All-SEC list every year since 2015 and has totaled 22.
Alabama opens play this week at the SEC tournament in College Station, Texas, on Thursday at 4 p.m. CT against the winner of Wednesday’s Georgia-Arkansas game.