Alabama softball adds transfer portal pickup from SEC rival

By WVUA 23 Sports Reporter Juliet Brown

After three staple players for Alabama softball graduated, including its catcher, head coach Patrick Murphy turned to the NCAA Transfer Portal to find players to fill the voids they left behind. It appears he found his next catcher after Texas A&M transfer Riley Valentine announced her intentions to join the Crimson Tide next season.

“Words cannot express how incredibly grateful I am for this opportunity,” Valentine said. “To take the field with ‘Bama’ across my chest with my Crimson Tide teammates is something most girls can only dream about. I’m so excited to be part of the Alabama family! Every path leads you to exactly where you’re supposed to be. Sometimes the path will be long but it will be worth it! Proverbs 3:5-6”

Valentine started 20 of the 40 games she appeared in last season as a freshman. She drove in 20 RBIs on the year. While her .188 batting average in 64 at bats isn’t impressive, nine of her twelve hits on the season went for extra bases, including six home runs.

The Arizona native earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors after going 3-for-5 with a home run, double and two RBIs in Texas A&M’s series win against then-No. 9 Arkansas.

Coming out of high school, Valentine was ranked No. 26 overall and the tenth best catcher in Extra Inning Softball’s 2022 Extra Elite Top 100. She played club softball for the Arizona Storm where she earned PGF All-American accolades her senior year of high school. The rising sophomore was a four-time all-conference and all-region honoree during her time playing at Sandra Day O’Connor High School.

Valentine joins a slew of newcomers for next year’s team, including Arkansas Central transfer pitcher Kayla Beaver, LSU transfer pitcher Alea Johnson, and junior college infield transfer Kendal Clark.

“We are so excited to welcome Riley to our softball family,” Murphy said in a press release. “She is a great young lady from an awesome family. Riley will add athleticism, pop and great leadership to our team.”

She will most likely be competing against Marlie Giles for the starting catcher role. Giles filled in at catcher for Ally Shipman last season whenever she was injured.

Categories: Alabama, College Sports, Sports