Priceville’s Richard signs with Crimson Tide
PRICEVILLE – University of Alabama head softball coach Patrick Murphy was one of the last schools to offer Priceville standout Danielle Richard a scholarship.
The Priceville senior, who already had scholarship offers to play at Georgia Tech, Jacksonville State, Lipscomb and several other four-year schools, made up her mind after making an official trip to Tuscaloosa.
“I think that all of the players at Alabama are a lot alike, other than the fact that they are all 6-foot tall or bigger,” said the diminutive Richard, who is listed at 5-foot-4.
Richard signed her national letter-of-intent with the Crimson Tide Saturday afternoon at the Priceville Softball Complex in front of family and friends.
“I’m just so excited to finally have this signing out of the way,” Richard said. “It will be nice to finally be able to see what I can do without the pressure of worrying about what college I was going to go to. I’m really looking forward to my senior year at Priceville with that out of the way.”
Richard helped lead Priceville to the Class 4A regionals this season with a school-record 23 home runs. She finished with a .545 average at the plate with a team-high 65 RBIs on her way to a long list of post-season honors, including the Hartselle Enquirer’s top offensive player and the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s Class 4A hitter and player of the year.
“I can’t wait to see her in an Alabama uniform,” said Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy.
Murphy, who has never had a losing season at Alabama since taking over the program for the 1999 season, has seen several of Richard’s games, including several summer ball tournaments around the country. In fact, the first time Murphy saw Richard play, she homered in her first at-bat.
“You don’t see many 5-foot-2 or 5-foot-3 girls hit 23 home runs in a year,” Murphy said. “Her dad and her coaches have taught her well. She really has perfected her swing and she has the correct sequence.
“A lot of kids will get one part of the sequence in front of another. Danielle has that sequence down well. She just has a lot of natural ability.”
Richard added 18 doubles and five triples to her impressive home run numbers despite being pitched around by opponents much of the season.
Richard had four multi-homer games, including two in the same inning against West Morgan in the Morgan County Softball Tournament.
“I knew from Danielle’s first year that she was going to be a special athlete that would go far,” Rogers said. “She’s just that good. I think that she will be very successful at Alabama.
“The opportunity to coach her has just been wonderful.”
Richard is the first Morgan County softball player to sign with the Crimson Tide program since its inception in 1997.
“I think this is a great opportunity for me to represent high school softball in our state,” Richard said. “This shows that girls in our state can play at the University of Alabama.”
Murphy said that Richard will also bring plenty of versatility to the Crimson Tide’s defensive lineup.
“Danielle can play any of the infield positions and she can also play the outfield,” Murphy said.
He also didn’t rule out Richard earning a starting position right out of high school if she performs well. The Crimson Tide will lose two players to graduation this spring, including a utility player.
“We tell all of our players that if they want a starting spot, they have to win that spot,” Murphy said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a freshman or a senior, if you play well you will be on that field.”