JUNE 30 2010 UPDATE
NATIONAL PRO FASTPITCH
PRIDE & RACERS
Akron Racers Host USSSA Pride in Five-Game Set
Racers, Pride Will Battle For Top Spot In NPF Standings
AKRON, Ohio – For fans curious about the US National team and USSSA Pride members currently competing in the International Softball Federation’s 12th World Championships in Caracas, Venezuela, players will be on hand according to the following schedule:
Cat Osterman, Andrea Duran, Alissa Haber, Lauren Lappin, Caitlin Lowe, Jessica Mendoza and Natasha Watley are expected to return to market July 3rd through July 5th. The WWC championship is July 2.
AKRON, Ohio (June 30, 2010) – The Akron Racers, winners of three of their last four games will face arguably the National Pro Fastpitch’s hottest team when the USSSA Pride rolls into town for a five-game set, Thursday, July 1 through Monday, July 5 at Firestone Stadium.
Racer Nation Roundup…
Akron heads into the series with a 8-4 record, having won five out of the last seven against the Chicago Bandits, while suffering two extra-inning defeats. In fact, all four Akron losses this year have been by one-run margins with three coming in extra frames. Shortstop Jessica Valis has been on an absolute hitting tear and currently leads the team with a .361 clip, recording 13 hits, nine runs scored and two RBI. Micaela Minner and Crystl Bustos each enter the series with .333 batting average lending hands to Akron’s offensive efforts while Courtney Bures, Lisa Modglin and Samantha Ricketts have each driven in six runs on the season. In the circle, ace Lisa Norris has been virtually unstoppable. Norris now leads the league with five wins and is second with 34 strikeouts and a 0.46 ERA.
The USSSA Pride, winner of seven straight games and the league’s top team, comes into the series with a 9-3 record, having beat the Tennessee Diamonds in back-to-back series. The team lacks no amount of talent or experience as it boasts seven current US National team members in Andrea Duran, Alissa Haber, Lauren Lappin, Caitlin Lowe, Jessica Mendoza, Cat Osterman and Natasha Watley as well as former members Katie Burkhart and Kelly Kretschman. Seasoned NPF veterans like Jessica Williams and Megan Willis along with well-rounded rookies, including Francesca Enea, Charlotte Morgan and Melissa Roth transform the Pride lineup into a top-to-bottom threat at any moment.
Don’t Call it a Comeback…
In the last three outings, the Pride trailed by three runs in each contest but used the long ball approach to bounce back for 5-3 victories each time out. In game one, down 3-0, rookie Charlotte Morgan (the NPF RBI leader with 11) delivered the grand slam home run to put Tennessee away. Facing the exact same deficit in game two, Enea and Amber Flores each provided the offense on respective solo and grand slam home runs. Finally, down 3-0 once more in game three, the Pride got another round-tripper from Morgan, this of the three-run variety to tie the game before Kretschman put the Pride in front on a RBI double.
ELGIN – Saturday is shaping up to be a day for softball lovers to remember. Kicking off the action at 10 a.m. is a Bandits of Tomorrow game featuring two 14U teams – the St. Charles Comets 14U Elite and the Warren Wave 14U Silver.
The Comets and Wave are part of a new promotion this season for the Bandits, called Bandits of Tomorrow, which allows youth teams to play a game under the lights and glamour of the professional field.
Immediately following the Bandits of Tomorrow, the authentic Chicago Bandits will take the field in preparation for a 2 pm match-up against the Tennessee Diamonds. Bandits rookie Nikki Nemtiz is expected to take the circle for the Bandits in game one of Saturday�s double-header.
The day doesn’t end until the fireworks pop, so between Bandits games on Saturday, two men’s teams will square off for the enjoyment of Bandits fans.
The men’s game will feature the Aurora Dolan and Murphy Shamrocks (21-6) who are currently ranked 12 in the world according to International Softball Congress (ISC) rankings. Established in 1981 the Shamrocks will compete in the ISC World Tournament in August.
The Shamrocks have displayed outstanding pitching performances from their entire staff this summer. Ales Jetmar from the Czech Republic leads Aurora’s pitching staff with a 14-3 record (2.12 era, 109 strikeouts). Ales, a member of the Czech National Team, has years of experience and is entering the prime of his career.
The Bar of Appleton will square off against the Shamrocks. Bandits fans may remember the Bar of Appleton’s starting pitcher, Alex Blackshaw, as he is the same man that sliced and diced his way through the Bandits lineup in the Battle of the Sexes game in 2009, between the Bandits and Schaumburg Flyers.
The Bar of Appleton is currently 18-2 and ranked #10 in the world according to the International Softball Congress (ISC) rankings. The team boasts players from Argentina, Australia, Canada and the U.S.A.
The squad has been led by 2009 ISC Rookie of the Year Andrew Blackshaw from Australia, who at 19 years of age is making his mark as one of the top young throwers in the men’s game today.So far in the 2010 campaign, Blackshaw has only allowed one run in six starts with a perfect 6-0 record. Blackshaw was also named Most Outstanding Pitcher of the 2009 North Amercing Fastpitch Associations World Series.
To round out the day of softball, the Bandits and Diamonds will square off in game two of the double header with first pitch taking place at 7:05 p.m. A starting pitcher has not been named for the second game on the day, however Kristina Thorson or Jessica Sallinger are both available.
Following the final out of the seventh inning fans can stick around to watch fireworks – the only fireworks in Elgin – presented by Judson University, home of the Chicago Bandits. Fans will be entertained by a beautiful fireworks display from Johnny Rockets to a musical soundtrack.
UCLA COACHING STAFF OF YEAR AWARD
UCLA Named NFCA Division I National Coaching Staff of the Year
June 30, 2010
STARKVILLE, Miss. – The coaches of the 2010 NCAA Division I National Champions UCLA have been named as the 2010 National Fastpitch Coaches Association National Coaching Staff of the Year, the Association announced on Wednesday.
The Bruins went 50-11 on the year and were led by fourth-year head coach Kelly Inouye-Perez, assistant coaches Lisa Fernandez and Gina Veccione and volunteer assistant coach Natasha Watley.
UCLA finished the 2010 regular season in second place in the Pac-10 and earned the fifth-overall seed with an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. UCLA beat St. Mary’s (CA), San Diego State and Fresno State to finish the regional round with an undefeated record for the 19th time in program history.
The Bruins then went on to sweep Louisiana-Lafayette in the Los Angeles Super Regional to earn their 24th trip to the Women’s College World Series. In Oklahoma City, UCLA capped its perfect post-season record by going 5-0, including two wins over conference rival Arizona in the championship series, to earn the 11th national title in program history.
Just the third head coach in the history of UCLA softball, Inouye-Perez now joins her predecessors, NFCA Hall of Famers Sharon Backus and Sue Enquist, in the ranks of the school’s head coaches that have led the Bruins to a combined 106 team national championships, the most by any school in the NCAA.
The Bruins had two players selected to the Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-America first team this season, GiOnna DiSalvatore and the 2010 WCWS Most Outstanding Player Megan Langenfeld earning the honor.
For their work this season, Inouye-Perez and staff also earned the West Regional Coaching Staff of the Year award.
Other regional winners this season were:
Central Region – Louisiana-Lafayette
Co-Head Coaches: Michael Lotief & Stefni Lotief
Assistant Coach: Chris Malveaux
Louisiana was 45-18 this year and won both the Sun Belt regular season and tournament championships, marking the third straight season that they claimed both titles. The Ragin’ Cajuns then won the Baton Rouge Regional, which included then No. 17 LSU and No. 20 Texas A&M, and advanced to the super regionals for the second time in three years. Louisiana-Lafayette was led this season by first-team Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-Region selections Vallie Gaspard and Christi Orgeron and second-team selection Donna Bourgeois.
Great Lakes Region – University of Michigan
Head Coach: Carol Hutchins
Associate Head Coach: Bonnie Tholl
Assistant Coach: Jennifer Brundage
Volunteer Coach: Becky Marx Keogh
Michigan won their third straight Big Ten title in 2010, marking the 13th time in the last 18 years that they have won the conference crown. The Wolverines then defeated Wright State once and then No. 24 Notre Dame twice to claim the Ann Arbor Regional championship, before falling to Tennessee in the super regionals. The Wolverines had four Louisville Slugger/NFCA Second Team All-Americans this season in Jordan Taylor, Dorian Shaw, Maggie Viefhaus and Nikki Nemitz.
Mid-Atlantic Region – Fordham University
Head Coach: Bridget Orchard
Assistant Coaches: Emily Friedman & Bob Baxter
Pitching Coach: Mike Forsythe
Fordham earned their first ever trip to the NCAA tournament this season and set seven new school single-season records including most wins with 49. Fordham finished second in the Atlantic 10 in both the regular season and the tournament and earned an at-large bid to the College Park Regional. The Rams defeated Maryland twice en route to the regional title game, where they fell to then No. 11 Oklahoma. Fordham was led this season by 2010 Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-American Jen Mineau, who was just one of three pitchers to be named to this year’s first team.
Mideast Region – East Carolina University
Head Coach: Tracy Kee
Associate Head Coach: Natalie Kozlowski
Graduate Assistant Coach: Keli Harrell
East Carolina claimed their first Conference USA regular season and tournament titles in 2010 and advanced to the NCAA tournament for the second time in three years. In regional action, ECU eliminated both Iona and seventh-seeded Texas, before falling to BYU in the final. Helping lead the Pirates this season was third team Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-American and two-time Conference USA Pitcher of the Year Toni Paisley.
Midwest Region – University of Missouri
Head Coach: Ehren Earleywine
Assistant Coaches: Melissa Tucci and Pete D’Amour
Volunteer Assistant Coach: Phil Bradley
Missouri, who spent much of the season ranked in the Top 10, took second place in this year’s Big 12 tournament and received an at-large berth to the NCAA tournament. This year’s appearance marked the 14th time in school history and the fifth in six years that they were included in the field of 64. Entering regional play as the host and ninth seed, the Tigers went 3-0 and defeated DePaul and then No. 18 Illinois twice to claim the championship. Missouri defeated No. 14 Oregon, 2-0, in the super regionals to earn their second straight trip and fifth overall to the WCWS. The Tigers’ 51 wins in 2010 set a new school record, breaking last year’s mark of 50. Helping guide Missouri back to the WCWS this season was Louisville Slugger/NFCA third team All-American and WCWS All-Tournament selection Rhea Taylor.
Northeast Region – Long Island University
Head Coach: Roy Kortmann
Assistant Coaches: Bill Gehrke & Krystal Mejia Forbes
Volunteer Assistant Coach: Jessie DePippo
Long Island claimed the Northeast Conference regular season and tournament championships in 2010, earning a berth in to the NCAA tournament. The NEC Championship was the third in four years for the Blackbirds, who finished the season at 39-18. In the Amherst Regional, the Blackbirds defeated then No. 21 Massachusetts and Boston University, but eventually fell to 13th-seeded Arizona State in the title game. The tournament run not only marked the best post-season finish in program history, but the most wins as well, with 39. Long Island placed three players, Brynn Lewis, Blaire Porter and Bianca Mejia, on the Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-Region first team and two, Mariesha Marker and Chelsea Martinson, on the second team.
Pacific Region – University of Washington
Head Coach: Heather Tarr
Assistant Coaches: Gina Carbonatto, Lance Glasoe, J.T. Amico
Student Assistant Coach: Dru Hester
Washington spent the entire regular season as the No. 1 team in the nation and went 17-4 in league play to earn the program’s first Pac-10 championship since 2000 and third overall. The Huskies earned the right to host a regional and went 3-0 in the event to advance to the Seattle Super Regional against then 11th-ranked Oklahoma. After dropping the first game to the Sooners, Washington took the final two games to earn their 10th trip to the WCWS. The Huskies had three first team Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-Americans this season in Danielle Lawrie, Niki Williams and Jenn Salling. In addition, Lawrie was also named as the USA Softball Player of the Year.
South Region – University of Alabama
Head Coach: Patrick Murphy
Associate Head Coach: Alyson Habetz
Assistant Coach: Vann Suedeman
Graduate Assistant Coach: Ashley Holcombe
Alabama claimed the SEC regular season and tournament titles for the first time in program history in 2010 and were named the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament. Alabama improved to 32-9 all-time in regional play by going a perfect 3-0 in the Tuscaloosa Regional to claim its sixth straight regional crown. In the Tuscaloosa Super Regional, the Tide took game one from Hawaii, but dropped the final two games of the series to end a season-high 28 game win streak and finish the year with a 52-11 record. Alabama was led in part this season by Louisville Slugger/NFCA second team All-Americans Charlotte Morgan and Kayla Braud and third team honoree Kelsi Dunne.
Southeast Region – University of Tennessee
Co-Head Coaches Karen Weekly & Ralph Weekly
Assistant Coach: Marty McDaniel
Volunteer Assistant Coach: Marc Weekly
Tennessee finished third in the Western Division of the SEC in 2010 and advanced to the semi-finals of the post-season tournament. The Lady Vols, who went 49-15 on the year, earned an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament and were given the 15th seed. Tennessee went 3-0 in the Knoxville Regional, before moving on to the Ann Arbor Super Regional where it shocked then No. 2 Michigan by eliminating the Wolverines in two games. At the WCWS, Tennessee won its first two games to advance to the semi-finals out of the winner’s bracket, but lost to Arizona twice to bow out of the tournament. The Lady Vols had two Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-American selections, with Raven Chavanne and Kat Dotson earning third team honors.