7-11-10 July 11 2010 Update




There was an abrupt reversal in one hire – Wisconsin – and some key spots like South Carolina remain to be filled but several schools have hired new head coaches.

MADISON, Wis. — Brent Vigness, the head softball coach at Creighton University who had accepted the same position at the University of Wisconsin recently, has decided to remain at Creighton, UW Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez announced Wednesday.

“We will immediately move forward with the process of filling our head softball coaching position,” Alvarez said. “It remains a terrific opportunity and we’re looking forward to bringing someone aboard to lead our student-athletes and build the program.”

Vigness cited personal reasons for his decision. “Firstly, I want to sincerely thank Barry Alvarez and Terry Gawlik for the opportunity to work at Wisconsin,” Vigness said. “The head softball job at Wisconsin is a great opportunity and the athletic department proved to be an unbelievable place. After several days of reflection, I came to the realization that my situation at Creighton was too ideal for me to leave. Creighton and Omaha have been my home for 17 years and I have built my life there. My decision came down to my family and in the end I realized that they are of the utmost importance to me and this decision is based on that.”

New head coaches include:

Hartford: Diana Consolmagno, Rutgers assistant

New Mexico: Erica Beach, Ohio State assistant

Norfolk State: Heidi Cavallo (NSU assistant hired as interim 2011)

Northern Colorado: Mark Montgomery, head coach at Centenary

Samford: Stephanie Van Brakle, head coach at Birmingham-Southern

Southern Utah: Kyle Magnusson, former Utah assistant

Still open:

Idaho State, Iowa, Lafayette, Minnesota, Saint Louis, Saint Peter’s, Siena, South Carolina and Tennessee State.


Kelsey Mericka (2011), Atlanta Vipers (Berry) – Verbal to Virginia Tech


Texas Storm Elite organization is in the beginning stages of starting up two Texas Invitational Showcase events this coming fall. The October 16-17, 2010 event will be an 18U/18U Gold Showcase and  the  November 6-7, 2010 event will be a 16U/16U Gold Showcase. Both will only be 24 teams, max 5 game, Showcase round robin format. These are invitationals.


SPY fell behind this past weekend after leaving the hospital.  Missed some good games.  Note: SPY usually  finds game reports on the NPF web site a day after the games are played.

Bandits Cruise Past Racers

(July 10) Elgin – A homer filled third inning and a near perfect game from Bandits’ pitcher, Kristina Thorson, helped the Bandits continue to cruise against the Akron Racers.

The Bandits’ bats were noisy all night, going to work against Racers’ pitcher, Jamie Southern, a former Bandit, in the bottom of the third. Bandits’ third baseman, Stacy May, started the five run scoring spree, smashing the first pitch she saw far over the heads of the Akron outfielders for a two-run home run. May went 3 for 4 on the night, recording two doubles, one home run and three RBIs.

“I think a lot of it is sometimes you just see the right pitches, and fortunately, I was able to put the right swing on the right pitch,” said May. “I had a rough first at bat, but after that I took the information and made the adjustments.” The hit extended the Bandits’ lead to 3-0 after Angela Findlay smacked a line drive in the second inning to score Amber Patton from first.

Three batters later, with Rachel Folden on first, Bandits’ first baseman, Samantha Findlay, rocketed a ball down the left field line that stayed just fair as it crossed over the fence. The second Bandits’ two-run homer of the inning stretched their lead to 5-0. With that shot Findlay now leads the league in home runs, notching six and topping fellow Bandit, Folden, who has five.

Akron attempted to overtake the Bandits, but just never got the ball rolling, recording only two hits on the night both from Crystl Bustos.  Thorson pitched an effective game on the mound, sending eight Akron batters back to the dugout in seven innings pitched and walking none.  Her impressive performance is coming on the heels of Jennie Finch’s perfect game last night. The former Wildcat, who arrived in town for a couple of days, threw 11 strikeouts in seven innings and retired 21 batters at Silver Cross Field in Joliet, IL.

Akron’s best chance came on the last out of the game when Racers’ first baseman, Samantha Ricketts, banged a ball deep to right that appeared to be leaving the park for a two-run home run. However, right-fiedler Angela Findlay leapt into the air right at the fence to snag the ball and end the game.

The Bandits decisively won this match, accumulating 10 hits on the night and adding five more runs after the third inning to win the game in high-scoring fashion 10-0 over the Racers.

The Bandits are now tied for first with the Racers in the NPF standings with a 12-8 record. The win also puts the Bandits ahead in the series 2-1, a much different story from the last couple of series with the Racers, where the Bandits dropped 5 of 7 games.

The Bandits will return for a matinee match up against the Racers at 2:05 p.m. on Sunday, July 11  to end the series. It will be a special day at Judson University as the Bandits, along with the A.D.O.P.T Pet Shelter, will be hosting the annual “Bark in the Park” Day. Owners can bring their four-legged friends and enjoy various activities set up prior to the game, which includes an opportunity to have their picture taken with their pet from a professional photographer. Doggie pools, community water bowls and a dog-walking area will be provided throughout the game to make the experience enjoyable for all. Fans who wish to bring their pets to the game can purchase a regular priced ticket for themselves along with a $4 ticket for their furry friend, which will be used as a donation for the A.D.O.P.T Pet Shelter.



NASHVILLE, Tenn. (July 10, 2010) _ The Tennessee Diamonds beat the USSSA Pride 2-1 Saturday night in National Pro Fastpitch play.

It was the second win of the row for the Diamonds at Draper Diamonds on the campus of Lipscomb University.

In the fourth inning the Diamonds struck for two runs. Megan Gibson led off the inning with a ground ball single through the left side. Chelsie Mesa followed with a ground ball single up the middle. Aubree Brattin then entered the game as a pinch-runner. Angeline Quiocho walked to load the bases. DeDe Justice was hit on the finger by a pitch to bring in Brattin with the first run of the game. Amanda Williams hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Mesa.

The Pride cut the lead to one. Charlotte Morgan led off with a single up the middle. Morgan scored when Jessica Williams singled up the middle.

Gibson, a right-hander, started on the mound for the Diamonds and pitched five complete inning. She scattered fives, walked three and struck out two on the way to her first win in seven decisions.

Neither team made an error in the game. Diamonds shortstop Chelsea Spencer set the tempo defensively with a couple of outstanding plays including a diving catch in shallow left field.

Right-hander Kristen Erb took over for Gibson to start the sixth inning and did not allow a hit or a run. Left-hander Katie Burkhart, 2-4, threw six innings for the Pride. She gave up seven hits, walked two and struck out five.

Jessica Mendoza, who has struggled throughout the series at the plate, led the Pride with two hits.  Jenna Rhodes led the Diamonds with two hits, including a triple to left center in the third inning.

The Diamonds are 5-16. The Pride slipped to 12-9.

The five-game series closes Sunday at 2 p.m.

Finch Hurls Perfect Game

(July 10 press release) Tension was thick in the ball park as Crystl Bustos stepped up to bat with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning. Not because she could win the game for the Akron Racers (12-7), but because she had the opportunity to ruin Jennie Finch’s (1-1) no hitter.

Bustos would ground out to Christine Knauer at short stop to end the game with a 2-0 Bandits (11-8) win.

Stacy May started off the game strong for the Bandits with a solo shot over the left field fence in the first inning. Finch helped herself out in the fifth inning with a bases loaded sacrifice fly to score Vicky Galindo for the final score of 2-0.

Finch of course pitched a great game, notching eleven strikeouts on the night including all three Akron batters in the sixth, but had the backup of her team mates, “Our defense, especially (Ashley) Holcombe came up huge. She caught so many fouled third strikes,” said Finch.

Everybody’s stomachs dropped in the seventh inning when leadoff hitter Lisa Modglin ripped a hard line drive on a 1-2 count, but Galindo’s glove at second base would reach just far enough to snag the ball for the out.

This is Finch’s second perfect game with the Bandits, her first coming in the 2009 season against the Philadelphia Force.

With Finch and others being away with the National Team recently, the pitching staff for the Bandits has had to work extra hard, “I owe this team,” said Finch, “the pitching staff has endured a lot of innings.”

Needless to say, the Bandits are glad to have Finch on their side.

Tonight’s win ties the series up at one game a-piece. Game three between the Bandits and Racers will take place tomorrow, Saturday, July 10 at 7:05 back at Judson University in Elgin.

 07/10/2010 11:14 AM


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (July 9, 2010) _ A two-run, two-out home run by Chelsie Mesa lifted the Tennessee Diamonds to a 3-2 win over the USSSA Pride.

“It’s a long season and we will see several people go on streaks,” Diamonds coach Ernie Reynolds said. “We have been really happy in the last several games with the way Chelsie has been swinging the bat. “She knows what it takes to win and how to step up in critical situations and make big plays. She needed some repetitions. She needed some swings and to get into a groove. She looks very comfortable right now. She is seeing the ball well right now evidently. She has a beautiful swing.”

The Diamonds took a 2-1 lead in the series with the win Friday night at Draper Diamond on the campus of Lipscomb University.  There were 426 fans in attendance despite the threat of rain at game time.

Both teams were scoreless through the first three innings.

The Pride scored first with a run in the top of the fourth. Caitlin Lowe reached base on an error by the Diamonds first baseman. She advanced to second on an illegal pitch. Jessica Mendoza hit a ground ball single through the right side to score Mendoza.

The Diamonds tied the game in the fourth. Megan Gibson walked. Aubree Brattin replaced Gibson as a pinch-runner. Brattin scored when Shannon Doepking slammed a ground ball single up the middle.

In the sixth the Pride scored one run. Kelly Kretschman singled through the right side to move Andrea Duran to third base. Duran, who also reached base on a single, scored when Kretschman stole second base and Shannon Doepking’s throw was short.

Gibson connected for a single over the head of the Pride’s centerfielder to start the sixth inning setting the stage of Mesa’s home run.

Diamonds right-hander Monica Abbott, 4-2, gave up five hits and struck out 11 batters in seven innings.  She walked one hitter.

“Monica was throwing against such a top lineup from one through nine with the Pride,” Reynolds said. “They are going to get their hits. She had critical strikeouts in situations where we could afford to flex at all with runners on second and third. When she struck out the side in the fifth inning with a runner on third that was classic Monica Abbott.”

Desiree Serrano, also a right-hander, threw a complete game for the Pride. She allowed six hits, struck out six and walked four.


07/09/2010 11:39 AM

Tennessee Diamonds lose 15-1 to USSSA Pride

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (July 8, 2010) _ The USSSA Pride pounded out 14 hits and took advantage of  eight Nashville Diamonds errors in a 15-1 win in National Pro Fastpitch action.

The Thursday night game at Draper Diamond on the campus of Lipscomb University started an 1 ½ hours late due to a rain storm. After the first inning began the rain returned, prompting a 48-minute delay.

The Pride struck first in the second inning. Charlotte Morgan led off with a double to right center. She advanced to third on a fly out. Morgan scored when Melissa Roth hit a fly ball down the right field line for an RBI double.

In the home portion of the second the Diamonds scored their only run. Loryn Johnson, who reached base on a single, scored on a sacrifice bunt by Aubree Brattin.

The Pride used six hits, two walks and six Diamonds errors to score nine runs in the third inning to break the game open. The big hit in the inning was a triple to left center by Amber Flores.

Right-hander Kristen Erb, 0-4, started the game for the Diamonds. She lasted 2.1 innings, giving up nine runs, two earned, on eight hits. She recorded on strikeout and did not walk a batter. Right-hander Megan Gibson relieved in the third inning.  She pitched 2.2 innings and allowed one run on two hits. She walked two and struck out three. Right-hander Samantha Sheeley scattered four hits and five runs, all earned. She walked three and struck out two.

Right-hander Sarah Pauley, 5-2, went the distance for the Pride. She gave up seven hits and struck out 12. She also walked one batter.

The Prides Natasha Whatley led all batters with three hits. Andrea Duran, Melissa Roth and Flores each had two hits. Roth and Flores both drove in two runs.

Gibson and Johnson both had two hits to lead the Diamonds. 


Thursday: Akron Racers 5, Chicago Bandits 3

(Press release) It was a nail biter tonight between the Chicago Bandits (10-8) and Akron Racers (12-6), but the Racers roared ahead with a two run homer in the ninth inning by Micaela Minner that put the Racers up 5-3 for the win.

The Bandits started off strong with a solo home run by Rachel Folden in the first inning. Two other home runs blasted out by Samantha Findlay in the fourth and sixth innings would be the only runs the Bandits scored.

Hitting was held to a minimum by outstanding pitching from both the Bandits’ and Racers’ bullpens.  Until the seventh inning it was a pitchers’ duel, with Bandits’ pitcher Eileen Canney giving up only one unearned run on a wild pitch and just three hits for the night. Racers’ pitcher, Lisa Norris, brings her undefeated record to 7-0 for the season, giving up three runs for the night. She was dominant in the circle going into extra innings, allowing no hits in the eighth and ninth innings.

The Bandits had a 3-1 lead heading into the seventh, but couldn’t hold the lead. Canney (0-1), who started in the circle, was relieved by Jessica Sallinger (2-1) after the Racers put two runners on base with a single and a walk. An error by Sallinger and a hit to second tied up the game for the Racers, bringing it into extra innings.

The win brings the Bandits record to 10-8, reassuring Akron their number one in the NPF standings at 12-6.

You have to love the part about Jeter

Bob Sheppard, the public address announcer at Yankee Stadium for more than six decades, died at his home in Baldwin, N.Y. Sunday. Sheppard, dubbed the “Voice of God” by legendary Yankees outfielder Reggie Jackson, was 99.

Sheppard began announcing Yankee games in 1951, Mickey Mantle’s rookie year, and he did so until 2007, when a series of health problems prevented him from continuing his duties.

His unique style and cadence on the microphone, along with his presence at more than 4,500 major league games, made him as much a fixture at Yankee Stadium as the familiar facade or Monument Park.

“I am deeply saddened by the death today of Bob Sheppard, a good friend and fine man whose voice set the gold standard for America’s sports announcers,” Yankees owner George Steinbrenner said in a statement. “For over a half century, fans were thrilled to hear his unforgettable voice and players were thrilled to hear his majestic enunciation of their names. Bob Sheppard was a great member of the Yankees family and his death leaves a lasting silence.”

Sheppard’s career highlights include Don Larsen’s perfect game in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series, Roger Maris’ 61st home run in 1961, Reggie Jackson’s three home runs in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series and the Giants-Colts overtime NFL Championship Game in 1958.

“Most men go to work, but I go to a game,” Sheppard said of his career. “How many men would love to do that?”

Derek Jeter has helped Sheppard remain a presence at Yankee Stadium, even with Sheppard retired and the team moved into an upgraded version of the Stadium. Jeter requested a recording of Sheppard’s voice in 2006 when the announcer missed the team’s first homestand that year so that he could always be introduced by Sheppard.

The Yankees shortstop still comes to the plate to the intonations of Sheppard: “The shortsop … number two … Derek Jeter … number two.”

“He’s as much a part of this organization as any player,” Jeter told reporters later Sunday. “Even though the players change year in and year out, he was the one constant at Yankee Stadium. He was part of the experience. He’s going to be missed.”

In addition to his duties as P.A. announcer at Yankee Stadium, Sheppard was also the announcer for the New York Giants. He began working for the Giants in 1956, and stayed with the team even after it moved from Yankee Stadium to the Meadowlands. Sheppard left the Giants after the 2006 season.

Before he began his career with the Yankees, Sheppard served in the Navy during World War II and was a speech teacher. He also served as a P.A. announcer at St. John’s University, which he graduated from in 1932 after playing quarterback for the football team, first base for the baseball team and be elected senior class president.

Newsday, which first reported the news of his death, said Sheppard was surrounded by family and his final moments were peaceful.

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