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

Dunne, Braud start season on national award watch list

Two Alabama softball standouts were recently selected to the Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Watch List. Senior pitcher Kelsi Dunne was named to the list for the third year in a row, while sophomore outfielder Kayla Braud was also added to the list of 50.

“It’s real exciting,” Braud said. “It’s an honor that all the hard work that you put in the season before and you put in the fall and the summer, it all pays off when you get to be recognized a little bit before the season even starts. It’s just an opportunity for our team to be good if we have players on the watch list.”

The Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year is the most prestigious honor in Division I women’s softball, recognizing outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players all over the country. This year’s preseason watch list had 36 schools and 15 NCAA Division I conferences. Twenty-three seniors, 12 juniors and 15 sophomores have been named to the Watch List.

“It’s definitely an honor,” Dunne said. “Kind of shocking. There are so many great players on the list. I feel privileged to be one of those players on the list. As awesome as that is, its kind of irrelevant to what our team is focusing on. There’s just a bigger picture that we are concerned about now. We’re just ready to get out there and achieving our team goals, and that’s what I’m really looking forward to.”

On April 13, the Amateur Softball Association will narrow that list of 50 athletes down to 25. Although a player does not have to appear on the initial watch list to be considered a top-25 finalist, the winner will come from the top-25 list.

“We’re really happy that USA softball sponsors this award and to have two kids on our team on it out of the entire country is pretty awesome,” said head coach Patrick Murphy. “Any how as the season goes on, we’ll get a couple more on there and the ones that are on there will stay on it. It’s kind of an incentive for other kids to work hard and get on that list.”

Although both Dunne and Braud mentioned that individual awards come second to team success, they did recognize that individuals are the most important component of the team.

“The stronger each individual is, the stronger our team is,” Dunne said. “That’s what we work on everyday to push our team to get better.”

Last season, Dunne set a school record with 355 strikeouts. In the process, she earned NFCA and Easton All-American honors, All-SEC First team, SEC All-Tournament team and NFCA All-South Region First Team.

“Kelsey last year had her best strikeout year she was very consistent,” Murphy said. “She pitched us to the SEC Championship and to the SEC tournament championship game we won all three games. It was the first time in our history that we had one kid pitch all three games, and she won all three games. She has a chance to be a four time All-American. She would be the fourth in our program’s history to be a four time All-American, which is pretty remarkable as a pitcher.”

Last season, Braud also made a huge impact on the Crimson Tide’s softball team hitting over .500. Braud won every honor that Dunne won and was also named to the SEC All-Freshman team.

“Braud she had such a great freshman year,” Murphy said. “She was one of the best offensive threats in the conference by far. Two thirds of the way through the season she was hitting about .450, and I thought that was no way she could hit .500 because she would have to hit 3-for-4 every game. And she did. It was just remarkable to see. It couldn’t happen to a finer young lady, a 4.0 student and a great kid overall.”

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