Kissimmee, FL- May 27th,2015 – On April 1st, the 2015 National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) College Draft presented by Bownet Sports was underway in Nashville, Tennessee and was broadcasted live on CBS Sports. Packed with fans and girls’ softball teams alike, the audience waited patiently and supported these girls to see where all of the draftees would play professionally for the 2015 NPF season. After all was said and done, it was another successful draft day for the NPF as the USSSA Pride gained five great draftees for the upcoming season.
Fast forward to a month or so later and NPF Opening Day is quickly approaching (May 29th) and all of the girls are eager to showcase their talent on the level of play the NPF provides. When asked about the NPF Draft, USSSA Pride General Manager Don DeDonatis felt the Pride had a strong draft this year and is looking forward to what the 2015 draftees will bring to the team. With practice starting up this past week it has become known that three out of the five 2015 Pride draftees have been playing softball together since they were just five years old, which can mean great things as far as chemistry on the field can go.
With the first two picks of the 2015 NPF draft, the back-to-back defending champs quickly drafted University of Oklahoma infielder and Trabuco, California native Lauren Chamberlain. Selected as the first overall pick of the 2015 NPF College Draft, Chamberlain will certainly add to the Pride’s offense after recently breaking the NCAA Division I home run record with 95 and ranking first in Big 12 history career home runs. She ended the 2014 season with the best slugging percentage in NCAA history (.950), was named Big 12 Player of the Week five times and ranked first in Oklahoma University history in career extra-base hits (107) and on base-percentage (.546).
But Chamberlain isn’t the only player drafted by the Pride from the University of Oklahoma. Teammate, infielder Shelby Pendley, will join Chamberlain on the field again at the start of the 2015 NPF season. The Rio Rancho, New Mexico native was selected as the second overall pick in the 2015 NPF College Draft, directly following her Oklahoma teammate. Pendley ended the 2014 season ranked 14th in NCAA history in career slugging percentage (.797) and holds the second best career batting average and slugging percentage in University of Oklahoma history. Pendley was also named 2014 NFCA First-Team All-American, 2013 Big 12 Player of the Year and was a three-time Big 12 Player of the Week.
In the third round of the 2015 NPF College Draft, the Pride selected Amber Freeman, the eleventh overall pick. She attended Arizona State University and is originally from Lakewood, California. Freeman is ranked 4th and 5th in ASU career home runs and RBIs with 55 and 191, respectively. She is also ranked 4th overall in ASU history with 44 career doubles. Her offensive accolades don’t stop there. Freeman’s .424 batting average in 2014 ranked her 14th in single-season history for those receiving at least 75 at-bats. Her strong offense as a player will undoubtedly help the Pride after powerhouse hitter Caitlin Lowe’s retiring last season.
The fourth draftee selected by the Pride was outfielder Emilee Koerner from the University of Notre Dame. She was selected in the fourth round as the 17th overall pick by the USSSA Pride. The 2015 Notre Dame Co-Captain, from Tustin, California entered her senior season with the highest career batting average (.401) among Notre Dame players with at least 300 career at-bats. Koerner became the all-time leading Notre Dame runs scorer on April 8, 2015. Additionally, she leads the program in doubles (61) and slugging percentage (.695).
The final selection for the Pride in the 2015 NPF College Draft was Hallie Wilson from the University of Arizona. Wilson, who was selected 28th overall, was named NFCA First Team All-American, All-West Region and All-Pack 12 in 2014. Wilson brings both an offensive and defensive dynamic that will greatly help the Pride.
As the final countdown to the start of the 2015 comes to a close, the countdown to the NPF Championship Series and the Cowles Cup will soon be underway. Here’s to looking forward to another great season of Pro Fastpitch and admiring the greatest softball players in the world.
About USSSA Florida Pride:
The USSSA Florida Pride is a professional franchise in the National Pro Fastpitch League that is owned and operated by USSSA. The amateur organization of USSSA has multi-sport coverage and encompasses teams and players from the United States and abroad.
National Pro Fastpitch is headquartered in Nashville, TN. The league, created to give elite female fastpitch players the opportunity to pursue a professional career in their chosen sport, has operated since 1997 under the names of Women’s Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Women’s Pro Softball League (WPSL). NPF is the Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball in the category of women’s fastpitch softball since 2002.
USSSA is headquartered in Osceola County, Florida. USSSA is the World’s largest Multi-sport Athletic Organization. Founded in 1968, USSSA has grown to over 3.7 million participants, competing in 13 nationally sanctioned sports including Baseball, Fastpitch, Slow Pitch, Karate, Basketball, Soccer and more! For more information on USSSA and to register your team visit USSSA.com. Also be sure to visit USSSAToday.com for the latest USSSA News!