Alabama's Abby Doerr Feels More Prepared For 2021 Season
Last January, Abby Doerr’s biggest concern was just trying to get clearance to play for Alabama. An early enrollee who was originally part of the 2020 recruiting class, Doerr knew the program she committed to needed help at the catcher position. Coach Patrick Murphy tossed around the idea of enrolling early on Doerr’s visit in August of 2019. She returned to Tuscaloosa, Ala. in November and the decision was made to try to be eligible for the 2020 season.
She met with her Elmira High School principal back in Oregon about taking four year-long classes in a matter of two months. Doerr joked that she didn’t leave her couch or textbooks in that span. It wasn’t easy, but she had the desire to help her team.
“They needed my help and I did whatever I could do for my team,” Doerr told Softball America in a phone interview.
Despite all the hard work to start her college softball career early, Doerr wasn’t cleared by the NCAA until the second week of the 2020 season.
“When I came here and still heard I wasn’t cleared, it was hard,” Doerr said. “I had my teammates and coaches who were all supportive. When I was cleared, it was a relief, but I was still so nervous to play. I knew physically I wasn’t prepared but the team made it fun. I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
Doerr did have her struggles at the plate. She only had eight hits across 18 games, though she did hit a home run in her first college contest. However, as Murphy mentioned in his preseason press conference this January, Doerr was a high school senior facing the likes of UCLA’s Megan Faraimo, Oklahoma State’s Carrie Eberle and Washington’s Gabbie Plain in her first collegiate weekend of softball. Murphy also mentioned Doerr looked a lot better this past fall.
Not only did Doerr have to adjust to college pitching at the plate, but she also took on the responsibility of catching one of the deepest pitching rotations in the nation. That group wasn’t shocked Doerr did such a great job in such little time because of the heart that she shows.
“I’m not shocked about how great she was coming out (of high school) because she's one of those teammates and friends that wants to give everything she has to every single person,” Alabama pitcher Montana Fouts said. “She has one of the biggest hearts I’ve ever seen. She wanted to do whatever it took to do her role and make our team better.”
The non-softball conditions for Doerr are a lot easier as she approaches a redo of her freshman season. She’s not awaiting NCAA clearance, her extra time isn’t used for trying to pass high school classes in eight weeks and she's had plenty of time to become a better softball player.
“It’s so much different,” said Doerr about where she is this year compared to last. “I worked hard to be prepared this time because I didn’t have time last year. My teammates pushed me, they know what is needed for this season. They’ve helped me a lot. I’m so excited.”
Doerr also believes that she couldn’t have made it through the season without the help of her mom, Melissa, who some softball fans may remember as Missy Coe from her playing days at Oregon.
“I called her every day, three times a day,” Doerr said. “She knows me, she knows that this was the hardest experience I’ll probably ever go through. She told me to take the positives out of each day and I truly couldn’t have done it without her.”
The talented, highly-recruited catcher has time to enjoy her first full season of college softball as she heads into 2021. That big heart full of determination will likely show results for Doerr throughout the 2021 campaign, which is set to begin for the Crimson Tide on Feb. 12.