5 things to know about Alabama softball catcher Ally Shipman as NCAA Tournament regional play begins

Brett Greenberg
The Tuscaloosa News

It is not often a team can replace its program’s all-time home run leader in Bailey Hemphill with more production, but Alabama softball coach Patrick Murphy did it exactly that before the 2022 season.

No. 6 Alabama (41-11) welcomed in two transfers, highlighted by Ally Shipman, an SEC catcher who arrived with loads of experience at Tennessee.

"It is hard to play three years at another SEC school then meld into our culture and our program we have here, but she has done it tremendously," said Murphy. "All the pitchers love her, so credit to her."

Shipman has established a commanding presence and ability to deliver in the clutch. 

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As the Crimson Tide begins NCAA Tournament regional play against Chattanooga (29-25) at 3 p.m. CT on SEC Network, here are five things to know about the Alabama catcher. 

Originally a Tennessee Vol

Shipman transferred from the Tennessee following her junior season after starting in 98 games with a .331 career batting average. The senior opted to use her final two years of eligibility at Alabama.

"We got really lucky with her," said Murphy. "She's a great girl, player, student and everyone loves her. Credit to her for coming in a mixing in so well.”

Catch her if you can

Alabama's offense runs through Shipman. Through 36 games, she leads the team with 16 multi-hit games and 14 multi-RBI games. The power hitter ranks second on the team in batting average (.347) and doubles (11) and first in hits (51), RBIs (45) while T-1 for home runs (8). 

Alabama base runner Ally Shipman scores a run against the Miami Redhawks in Rhoads Stadium Sunday, March 6, 2022, in the Crimson Classic.

Her 43 RBIs are good for the second most in the SEC, while her nine doubles rank seventh. In 30 starts behind the plate, Shipman has yet to commit an error while allowing just 12 steal attempts. 

In the clutch

Shipman blasted a three-run, walk-off home run in the win over Georgia, driving in five runs in the game. In a win over Louisiana, she hit a two-run home run to account for all of Alabama's runs. 

"If you need an RBI, call Ally," said Kaylee Tow. 

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Presence immediately felt

Murphy raved about his two offseason additions in a preseason news conference. 

"One of the bigger bonuses in the addition of Ally was her three years of Power Five (conference) experience," said Murphy. "She has seen it, she has done it and she's played in a lot of big games." 

Shipman, along with Tow and Montana Fouts, has taken on a leadership role. 

Alabama catcher Ally Shipman makes a snap throw to first in an attempt to catch at Texas base runner off the bag in Rhoads Stadium Saturday, March 5, 2022, in the Crimson Classic.

Family affair

The last name Shipman might sound familiar in the SEC softball universe. Her sister is former Tennessee All-American Madison Shipman. 

As a senior, Madison Shipman was awarded SEC Player of the Year after back-to-back trips to the Women's College World Series. Since her playing days, Shipman has become an SEC Network softball analyst. 

Reach Brett Greenberg at bgreenberg@gannett.com or follow @74talk on Twitter.