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Alissa Humphrey Is James Madison's Next Ace

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(Photo by JMU Athletics)

In recent years, the college softball transfer portal has been rife with talent to add to a team's roster. And the past two years have seen particularly special talent on the move around the country.

Lauren LaPorte, James Madison University's head softball coach, added one such transfer in Alissa Humphrey ahead of the 2021 season. In Humphrey, LaPorte's team gained a pitcher who would become a key part of JMU’s roster and aid in the Dukes' run to the Women's College World Series.

Humphrey came to Harrisonburg, Va. to become a Duke after being a member of the Jacksonville University softball team for the shortened 2020 season. She experienced great success with JMU in 2021, posting a 14-0 record with a 1.56 ERA and 141 strikeouts during her first full season of college softball.

“Alissa is a gritty competitor who relies on her spin and command to dominate in the circle,” LaPorte said following the announcement that Humphrey would be added to her 2021 roster. “She also understands the importance of changing speeds and possesses great intelligence on the mound. She has proven to be a winner throughout her high school and travel ball careers, and we know she has what it takes to keep us competing at a high level.”

While Odicci Alexander made a name for herself in the sports world during JMU's unbelievable run to the WCWS semifinals, Humphrey proved LaPorte right throughout the regular season. As a freshman, she earned Colonial Athletic Association Pitcher of the Week honors three times and Rookie of the Week honors twice. In addition to those awards, she was also named to the CAA All-Rookie team, was a first-team All-CAA selection and a first-team All-Region honoree. To boot, the Micanopy, Fla. native was crowned the CAA Rookie of the Year for her performance in the circle during the 2021 season.

Throughout the campaign, Humphrey appeared in 22 games and got the start in 15, while throwing 11 complete games in her standout freshman season. She also recorded seven shutouts, one save and threw a total of 94.1 innings. The rookie set the program record for the most no-hitters in a single season with five.

During the postseason and her team's journey to Oklahoma City, Humphrey was named to the Schutt Sports/NFCA DI National Freshman of the Year Top 15 List. The pitcher also took home VaSID Rookie of the Year honors, and was named to the VaSID All-State first team along with her teammates Sara Jubas and Logan Newton, as well as VaSID Player of the Year Kate Gordon and VaSID Pitcher of the Year Odicci Alexander.

Humphrey's performance with the Dukes earned her an invite to participate in the 2021 USA Softball U-18 junior women’s national team tryout, after which she earned a spot on the team as a replacement player. She'll travel with the 16-player roster to the World Baseball Softball Confederation U-18 World Cup later this month and the Junior Pan American Games in November.

For the Dukes and their budding ace, the future is clearly bright.

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