Tide's Morgan Is First Draft Pick

Everyone knows that people from Missouri have to be shown. The Missouri Tigers women's softball team will get to see the top overall pick in the National Pro Fastpitch College Senior Draft this weekend as the Alabama Crimson Tide hosts Mizzou in the season-opening softball series.

Alabama and Missouri are scheduled for a doubleheader at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Alabama Softball Complex. The teams will play again in a single game at noon Sunday, a game that was moved up an hour from the original scheduled start time.

There was much talk about the weather in Tuscaloosa with a light snow falling Friday, but other than being cold the games should not be in jeopardy this weekend.

Alabama is led by senior All-America Charlotte Morgan, who was selected as the top overall pick in the National Pro Fastpitch College Senior Draft by the USSSA Pride. Morgan became the eighth player in Alabama history to be drafted in the professional league.

"It is an honor to be able to have the opportunity to further my career," Morgan said. "To be able to play professionally has always been a goal of mine. I wouldn't be in this position if it weren't for the coaching staff and my teammates at Alabama."

Morgan is coming off a junior campaign in which she was named a NFCA first-team All-American for the second consecutive season. The Moreno Valley, Calif., native became the first member of the Crimson Tide to be named the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year.

"What a great honor for both Charlotte and Alabama softball," Alabama Coach Patrick Murphy said. "Charlotte will bring a lot to the NPF and in particular the Orlando franchise. She's a very self-driven athlete who will thrive in the professional game."

Morgan led Alabama in all three major hitting categories last season. She paced the Tide with a .406 batting average, 11 home runs and 59 RBI. She also led the team with a .673 slugging percentage and a .505 on base percentage.

Alabama has had a player drafted in three straight seasons. Ashley Holcombe was the 21st pick overall, selected by the Rockford Thunder last season. Jordan Praytor was drafted by the New England Riptide with the 22nd pick in 2008.

Of more immediate concern for Morgan and her Crimson Tide teammates are the games against Miossouri. Alabama is ranked second in the nation, but the Tigers come in also ranked in the top ten in the nation.

Bama's Murphy was asked about starting with a tough opponent like Missouri, and if he liked it.

"No, not really," Murphy said. "He (head coach Ehren Earleywine) called me and it was early – neither one of us knew we would both going to be in the World Series. Then they had a great year and knocked off UCLA at UCLA, which never happens. I think it was the first time in a Super Regional. He's starting to do really good things there. They came here for a Super Regional in 2007 and he's got a lot of good kids back. He's probably got the best center fielder (Rhea Taylor) now in the country, that is very similar to Brittany (last year Bama star Brittany Rogers) – very fast – so it's going to be a really good test. He's got a really good sophomore pitcher (Chelsea Thomas) that's back, so that's a scary opener, really. And to get them three times, it'll be good for the RPI but it'll be a challenge."

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