AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

Alabama Dominates the 2019 SEC Softball Awards List

Capturing the program's first SEC regular season championship since 2014 was just the beginning of what could be a really special season for the Alabama Crimson Tide softball team. Head coach Patrick Murphy's squad has already eclipsed 50 wins for the third time in six seasons, and they've yet to begin postseason play as the No. 1 overall seed in the SEC Tournament.

Leading up the tourney in College Station, Texas, the Southeastern Conference announced the league's postseason honors. In a conference that has 12 of its 14 teams ranked among the top 32 programs in college softball, it's not exactly an easy feat to dominate the SEC softball postseason awards.

That is, unless you're the Alabama Crimson Tide.

The league's head coaches submitted their votes for the best players, pitchers and freshmen in the conference for the 2019 season prior to the SEC softball tournament. Kentucky teammates Abbey Cheek and Katie Reed were named SEC Player of the Year and Scholar-Athlete of the Year, respectively.

Not surprisingly, though, Alabama cleaned house the rest of the way.

SEC Coach of the Year: Patrick Murphy

Murphy was honored as the SEC's top coach for the fifth time in his career. After starting the season with 33-straight wins, the Crimson Tide captured their sixth SEC regular season crown under Murphy on the last weekend of the year against their rival, the LSU Tigers.

As expected, he passed credit onto his staff that made another great season possible.

"Everybody put in the work from day one," Murphy said. "With the pitching staff, you have to credit assistant coach Stephanie VanBrakle Prothro for all the work she did with five pitchers on the staff. When Sarah contacted us in the fall, I asked Steph if she could do a staff of five and she was on board right away."

SEC Pitcher of the Year: Sarah Cornell

After dominating the Colonial Athletic Association for her first two collegiate seasons pitching for Hofstra, junior Sarah Cornell was named SEC Pitcher of the Year in a shocking upset of Florida's Kelly Barnhill, who led the conference in games pitched (41), wins (27), strikeouts (289) and had a 1.69 ERA over 220.0 innings pitched.

Cornell finished her first SEC regular season with a 20-1 record, including a 2.09 ERA (14th in the SEC) while striking out 79 batters over 110.1 innings pitched. Her numbers don't jump off the page, but picking up 20 wins in 26 appearances was obviously the deciding factor in honoring the right-hander for her efficiency in getting batters out this season.

Freshman of the Year: Montana Fouts

For a freshman to be compared to softball legend Jennie Finch, it's no surprise Fouts walked away with her first SEC honor after just one season. The four-time USA Today All-American in high school is going to knock down more awards like dominoes over the next few seasons, too.

Despite missing almost a month with injury, Fouts still managed to rack up a 14-3 record and collect five saves this season. Her microscopic 1.00 ERA ranked sixth in the entire NCAA, as she led Alabama with 142 strikeouts and 126.1 innings pitched.

Alongside both Cornell and Fouts, junior Bailey Hemphill was the third UA softball player named First-Team All-SEC after leading the conference in RBIs (69) and finishing second with 22 home runs during the regular season.

Here are the complete teams from the SEC's postseason honors.

First Team All-SEC
P - Sarah Cornell, Alabama
P - Montana Fouts, Alabama
P - Ashley Rogers, Tennessee
IF - Bailey Hemphill, Alabama
IF - Amanda Lorenz, Florida
IF - Alyssa DiCarlo, Georgia
IF - Abbey Cheek, Kentucky
IF - Shemiah Sanchez, LSU
OF - Hannah McEwen, Arkansas
OF - Kylan Becker, Ole Miss
OF - Kat Moore, Mississippi State
OF - Brooke Wilmes, Missouri
C - Jenny Schaper, Kentucky
C - Mia Davidson, Mississippi State
DP/U - Kendyl Lindaman, Florida
DP/U - Fa Leilua, Mississippi State

Second Team All-SEC
P - Autumn Storms, Arkansas
P - Kelly Barnhill, Florida
P - Molly Jacobsen, Ole Miss
IF - Maddie Morgan, Alabama
IF - Katie Reed, Kentucky
IF - Amanda Sanchez, LSU
IF - Jana Johns, South Carolina
IF - Aubrey Leach, Tennessee
OF - Elissa Brown, Alabama
OF - Ciara Bryan, Georgia
OF - Aliyah Andrews, LSU
OF - Jenna Holcomb, Tennessee
C - Kendall Veach, Auburn
DP/U - Shelbi Sunseri, LSU

Freshman All-SEC
P - Montana Fouts, Alabama
P - Elizabeth Hightower, Florida
P - Shelby Wickersham, LSU
IF - Skylar Wallace, Alabama
IF - Lacey Fincher, Georgia
IF - Jazmyn Rollin, Missouri
IF - Madison Owens, South Carolina
IF - Baylee Klingler, Texas A&M
OF - Kayla Kowalik, Kentucky
OF - Savannah Stewart, LSU
OF - Tate Whitley, Ole Miss
OF - Anna Kate Segars, Mississippi State
C - Kaili Phillips, Tennessee
DP/U - Kaitlin Parsons, Tennessee

SEC All-Defensive Team
P - Sarah Cornell, Alabama
C - Jenny Schaper, Kentucky
1B - Amanda Lorenz, Florida
2B - Casey McCrackin, Auburn
SS - Katie Reed, Kentucky
3B - Abbey Cheek, Kentucky
LF - Jenna Holcomb, Tennessee
CF - Elissa Brown, Alabama
CF - Aliyah Andrews, LSU
RF - Kaylee Horton, Ole Miss

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