VanBrakle (JR, Chambersburg, Pa.), who is the first national player of the week of any kind for the Alabama softball program. She was named the tournament MVP, also a first for the Crimson Tide.
"To be recognized nationally for such a prestigious award is very humbling," said VanBrakle. "I couldn't have done any of it without my teammates or coaches. Coach Murphy challenged us all week to be the team to score first and I made it one of my goals to score the people that were getting on in front of me. All week long we talked about being a team and playing as a team and while this is an individual honor this award goes to all of my teammates as well."
The SEC Championship was the third for Alabama and the second under Coach Patrick Murphy.
"This is a tremendous honor for Steph and our team from such a highly respected organization in the softball world. Her power game last week was just incredible. She single handedly put us on her back against Tennessee in the semifinal game with a one-hit shutout and the three-run home run. I'm very proud of her and all her teammates that helped her win this honor."
VanBrakle finished the tournament hitting .375 with a SEC Tournament record three home runs, two doubles, seven RBI and a 1.067 slugging percentage. She hit the game-winning home run in semifinal game against Tennessee while also throwing a one-hit complete game shutout striking out nine batters in semifinal win over Tennessee. The nine strikeouts broke the Alabama record for strikeouts in a SEC Tournament game.