Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

From dream to reality: Beaver’s journey to Crimson Tide ace

CW / Emma Grace Fobas
Alabama pitcher Kayla Beaver (#19) celebrates after a pitch against Virginia.

Right-handed pitcher Kayla Beaver always knew she wanted to play for Alabama. Wearing crimson, playing at Rhoads Stadium, and being able to be coached by Patrick Murphy encompassed all aspects of her dream.  

Growing up in Jackson, Tennessee, in a house full of Crimson Tide fans, Beaver was born into it. Coming to Tuscaloosa for football games since she was in middle school further instilled the culture in her.  

However, there had to be a pit stop before Beaver could command the circle in Tuscaloosa and continue the dominance that is Crimson Tide pitching.  

That pit stop was in Conway, Arkansas, at the University of Central Arkansas. Her stellar career in Conway was highlighted by a magnificent senior season in which she went 25-7 with a 1.15 ERA.  

She struck out 194 batters, pitched 11 shutouts — the third most in the country — and led her team to a No. 2 seed in the 2023 NCAA softball tournament.   

That postseason, the Sugar Bears of Central Arkansas were placed in none other than the Tuscaloosa region. This is where head coach Patrick Murphy was introduced to his future star pitcher.  

While scouting Beaver’s former team, Murphy and his staff scouted the Sugar Bear’s ace. They were prepared to face her at some point in the region, but that matchup never surfaced as Beaver’s squad bowed out early.  

Having one year of eligibility remaining, Beaver decided to enter the portal the Monday following the Tuscaloosa regional.  Murphy jumped at the chance to add her. 

“We learned that they were big Alabama fans, the family and the dad,” Murphy said. “They’ve come to football games.”  

So, Murphy gave her a call and invited her to come to the super regionals the next weekend against No. 12 seed Northwestern. Rhoads Stadium was rocking, the crowd was juiced, and the Crimson Tide advanced to the Women’s College World Series that weekend.  

“I’ve enjoyed this atmosphere since I was 8 years old, and you know coming to play a regional game here just made it even better,” Beaver said. “I knew I wanted to come here, so that’s what happened.”  

Beaver was one of seven additions from the transfer portal this past offseason and was tasked, along with the rest of the team, with filling the gap left by legendary pitcher Montana Fouts.  

Beaver showed she was not just a replacement but could make a legacy of her own when she started the season with a no-hitter against Villanova.  Her success has only grown since the opener as she owns a 13-3 record with wins over ranked teams Arizona, Virginia Tech and Georgia.  

Fast forward to this past weekend, and Alabama is hosting Ole Miss in a crucial SEC series for the Crimson Tide. It’s the seventh inning and Beaver is in the circle trying to finish off yet another masterful performance. The crowd is hooting and hollering. It is everything Beaver has dreamed of.  

“It makes the game so much fun,” Beaver said of the crowd. “Especially in the last inning, the last batter, the atmosphere is absolutely incredible.”  

Beaver completed her fifth shutout victory of the season Friday night, and while she might not reach the 11 she had last year, she is hoping this team can reach the dream heights she imagined when she decided to join the Crimson Tide.  

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