Softball adds 2022 MAC Player of the Year in transfer portal

Blake Byler, Assistant Sports Editor

After losing six players to the transfer portal after its loss in the NCAA Regional, Alabama softball added a high-profile transfer in outfielder Faith Hensley from Ball State.  

“First I want to say thank you to Ball State University for an amazing 4 years and undergraduate degree,” Hensley said in her announcement via Twitter. “I am excited to announce for my 5th year of eligibility I will be transferring to the University of Alabama! I am pumped to get to work and have some fun. ROLL TIDE!” 

A Monroe, Ohio native, Hensley spent four seasons at Ball State and will use her fifth and final season of eligibility in Tuscaloosa. She was a standout in 2022, earning first team All-MAC honors for the second straight season to go along with being the 2022 MAC Player of the Year.

Hensley was an outstanding batter for the Cardinals last season, hitting .404 on the season to go along with 17 home runs and 40 RBIs. She also ranked second in the MAC with a .814 slugging percentage.  

Hitting was one of the Crimson Tide’s biggest struggles down the stretch of the 2022 season, and Hensley bolsters Alabama’s dugout tremendously. Her 17 home runs were seven more than Alabama’s leader, shortstop Bailey Dowling—Her batting average was .054 higher than Alabama’s leader in catcher Ally Shipman.

The addition of Hensley combined with the returns of three of Alabama’s best hitters in Shipman, Dowling, and Ashley Prange provide a dangerous collection of bats that may be able to take the load off one another in 2023.  

To go along with the hitting needs that Hensley fills, she should be able to find a starting spot with ease in the thinned Alabama outfield. Jenna Johnson and Kat Grill will return, but the final spot will be up for grabs after the departures of Jenna Lord and Savannah Woodard to the transfer portal. Hensley’s biggest competition will be Jordan Stephens, who saw limited playing time as a freshman last year.