While fall normally makes people think of football around Tuscaloosa, another championship winning Alabama team began practicing on Thursday. 

It was the first official fall practice at Rhoads Stadium for the Crimson Tide softball team, now affectionately known as Team 26. 

The team is coming off an SEC Tournament championship and Women's College World Series semi-final appearance in 2021. Alabama returns 12 players from that team including pitchers Montana Fouts and Lexi Kilfoyl and first basemen Kaylee Tow who chose to use her extra year of eligibility to return for this season. 

There will also be a lot of new faces on the Crimson Tide roster featuring three transfers (Ally Shipman from Tennessee, Ashley Prange from Ohio State and M'Kay Gidley from Shelton State) and six true freshmen. 

The team is preparing for their fall ball schedule which begins in less than a month. The first fall game is slated for a doubleheader against Lipscomb in Nashville on Oct. 10. The Crimson Tide will host four fall ball games the weekend of Oct. 16 and 17, and then one final doubleheader against Wallace-Hanceville on Oct. 24 at Rhoads Stadium. 

The official season will start in February, but the full schedule has not yet been released. 

Alabama softball is still led by head coach Patrick Murphy who is entering his 24th season along with associate head coach Allyson Habetz. Stephanie van Brakle Prothro is now in her 10th season leading the pitching staff, and Alabama softball alum Ryan Iamurri joined the staff as a volunteer assistant in the offseason. 

Courtesy of Alabama Athletics