Alabama Softball Lands CAA Pitcher of the Year

The Crimson Tide picked up another pitcher in the transfer portal with the commitment from Emily Winstead.
Transfer pitcher Emily Winstead
Transfer pitcher Emily Winstead / @emilyrwinstead on Instagram

Alabama softball is reloading in the circle with help from the transfer portal. The Crimson Tide picked up another commitment on Monday night.

UNC Wilmington transfer Emily Winstead announced on her personal social media that she will be joining the Crimson Tide.

Winstead led UNC Wilmington to the 2024 Coastal Athletic Association title and an NCAA Tournament berth after going 13-8 with a career-low 1.93 ERA in her junior campaign. She has a 2.26 ERA with 402 strikeouts over her three-year career and won CAA Pitcher of the Year as a true freshman in 2022.

Alabama had a deep pitching staff with six arms in 2024, but three of the six (Kayla Beaver, Jaala Torrence and Lauren Esman) were out of eligibility, and redshirt junior Alex Salter announced on her social media that she would be medically retiring to become a graduate assistant for the Crimson Tide. This left rising sophomore Jocelyn Briski and rising junior Alea Johnson as the only returning pitchers on the roster.

Ole Miss transfer Catelyn Riley committed on Thursday, and Alabama has one pitcher, Braya Hodges, in the 2024 signing class.

Over the last few seasons, Alabama has had a lot of success with mid-major pitchers from the transfer portal, including a fellow CAA Pitcher of the Year in Sarah Cornell from Hofstra. Cornell went on to become the 2019 SEC Pitcher of the Year for Alabama. Last season, Alabama's ace Beaver was a mid-major transfer from Central Arkansas and earned second team all-American honors with the Crimson Tide.

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Katie Windham


Katie Windham is the assistant editor for BamaCentral, primarily covering football, basketball gymnastics and softball. She is a two-time graduate of the University of Alabama and has covered a variety of Crimson Tide athletics since 2019 for outlets like The Tuscaloosa News, The Crimson White and the Associated Press before joining BamaCentral full time in 2021. Windham has covered College Football Playoff games, the Women's College World Series, NCAA March Madness, SEC Tournaments and championships in multiple sports.