Jana McGinnis Pat Murphy

Jacksonville State softball coach Jana McGinnis, left, and Alabama softball coach Pat Murphy, right, were in Albertville on Monday to officially announce the Sand Mountain Showdown softball game at Sand Mountain Park and Amphitheater, set for March 20. Tickets were on sale as of 10 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Alabama and Jacksonville State head coaches Pat Murphy and Jana McGinnis were in Albertville on Monday morning, with the two legendary college softball coaches in town to officially announce the Sand Mountain Showdown between their two teams, set for March 30 at Sand Mountain Park and Amphitheater.

Tickets for the game were on sale as of 10 a.m. Tuesday morning through the SMPA website.

According to SMPA general manager Patrick O’Brien, the idea to host a Division I softball game has been around a year in the making, and when the coaches for Alabama and JSU had the chance to see the softball stadium, it became a no brainer to come to Sand Mountain for the game.

“We are extremely proud to host two outstanding college softball programs at the park,” O’Brien said. “The buzz around this event is high, and the game atmosphere will be tremendous. We are so excited to welcome these two incredibly successful college teams and their fans to one of the most superior softball venues in the country.”

The two coaches boast a long friendship, and loads of experience, with McGininis heading the Gamecocks for 29 seasons, and Murphy entering his 26th season in charge of the Crimson Tide.

The word both coaches continually came back to yesterday, to both describe their anticipation of the game, and softball’s growth in recent years, was ‘excitement.’

“We couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the Sand Mountain Showdown with Coach Murphy and his program at Alabama,” McGinnis said. “This is first-class facility is in

a part of our state where softball has grown over the years. Participating in this game will be a

thrill for our student-athletes, our alumni, and our fans. It is going to be a great night for the

community and the game of softball.”

Murphy and Alabama rose to stardom this past summer when the Tide reached the Women’s College World Series final four, in an event that saw record TV audiences, and made a star out of pitcher Montana Fouts.

“We are so excited to take our show on the road to Albertville,” Murphy said. The park is amazing, and the people have already been so hospitable to us. We have so much respect for JSU and Coach McGinnis. It’s an honor to get the chance to play them at Sand Mountain Park.”

Alabama is coming off a season in which they went 52-9 overall, including 18-6 in SEC play, and came within a win of playing in the College World Series championship series. Jacksonville State was 24-25 a season ago, but were 21-13 in Ohio Valley Conference play. The year is one of transition for the Gamecocks, who move into a stronger softball league this year with a move to the ASUN Conference, before joining Conference USA in 2023.

The game between the two teams at SMPA will be their first meeting since 2016, when the Tide topped the Gamecocks at JSU, 10-3, in a game where seven different Alabama players collected at least one RBI.

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