Tuscaloosa, AL-August 19, 2016- It was a memorable night out in Tuscaloosa for the USSSA Pride who took home a total of fourteen awards Thursday night at the 2016 NPF Banquet.
It was a night that recognized the league’s stand-out players in a setting fit for Alabama alumni Kelly Kretschman who stole the show with a whopping five awards in her former college town.
Kelly Kretschman ended the night as 2016 NPF Player of the Year, a feat she accomplished last season giving her back-to-back titles as league MVP, Offensive Player of the Year, Home Run Champion and the first ever Triple Crown Award recipient while also earning her rightful spot on the 2016 All-NPF team.
All that hardware is hardly getting to Kelly’s head who appreciates every bit of the recognition but doesn’t want to be remembered for the awards. Kretschman stresses that the season is far from over and the quest for that last piece of hardware is just beginning.
“It’s an extreme honor, I don’t really have words for it but I’ve been telling people all night, these awards aren’t going to mean anything unless we win this week. I just really care about what my teammates think of me as a person and as a teammate more than any awards.”
Kretschman finished the 2016 season leading the NPF with a .466 batting average, 13 home runs and 45 RBIs, the numbers that won her the Triple Crown honor. She also finished the season with league-leading marks in runs (42), hits (62) and second in doubles and walks in 48 games.
Rounding up the All-NPF team awards for the USSSA Pride were Megan Wiggins (OF), Jordan Taylor (P), Jolene Henderson (P), Kelsey Nunley (P), Shelby Pendley (At-Large), and Hallie Wilson (At-Large).
Of four pitching spots, the USSSA Pride took three to represent the All-NPF team. It’s the second year Jordan Taylor earned her spot on the All-NPF team leading the Pride with a .737 ERA in front of Jolene Henderson and Kelsey Nunley who both won first year honors at the 2016 banquet.
Lauren Chamberlain rounded up the individual awards earning the Jennie Finch Award that represents leadership and humility on and off the diamond, the award was presented by Finch herself through a special video presentation.
Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. even made an appearance before the festivities began and addressed the crowd before the NPF Banquet was set to begin.
“This is truly an honor for you, and also for me to be here,” Griffey said. “Having a girl that plays sports, I know how difficult it is for you always to be compared to the boys. You do a hell of a job. Take your hats off to yourselves. It is important for you girls to keep playing and to keep believing.”
As a team, the USSSA Pride earned the NPF Cup for the third year in a row with a 37-13 finish and the 2016 Coaching Staff of the Year was awarded to USSSA led by Head Coach Lonni Alameda assisted by Megan Willis, Sam Ricketts and Jeff Ellsworth.
Akron Racers outfielder, AJ Andrews also made history becoming the first woman to win the prestigious Rawlings Gold Glove Award during the 2016 NPF Banquet.
The USSSA Pride begin their quest to win the coveted Cowles Cup tonight at 8PM (CT). Tune in to CBS Sports Network for all of the Championship Series action.
Full list of the awards:
Player of the Year Presented by Mizuno: Kelly Kretschman, USSSA Pride
Pitcher of the Year Presented by Diamond: Monica Abbott, Scrap Yard Dawgs
Gold Glove Presented by Rawlings: A.J. Andrews, Akron Racers
Offensive Player of the Year Presented by Louisville Slugger: Kelly Kretschman, USSSA Pride
Rookie of the Year Presented by Easton: Sami Fagan, Akron Racers
Rally Spikes Award (Most Stolen Bases) Presented by 3n2 Sports: A.J. Andrews, Akron Racers, and Sammy Marshall, Chicago Bandits
Home Run Award Presented by Wilson/DeMarini: Kelly Kretschman, USSSA Pride
Jennie Finch Award Presented by National Pro Fastpitch: Lauren Chamberlain, USSSA Pride
Appreciation Award Presented by National Pro Fastpitch: Larry Brushett, Mizuno, and Dina Kwit, Chicago Bandits
Regular Season Champions Presented by National Pro Fastpitch: USSSA Pride
Coaching Staff of the Year Presented by Schutt Sports: USSSA Pride
Triple Crown Award Presented by National Pro Fastpitch: Kelly Kretschman, USSSA Pride
Here is the All-NPF team, Presented by Combat:
Catcher: Griffin Joiner, Akron Racers
First base: Alisa Goler, Pennsylvania Rebellion
Second base: Nerissa Myers, Scrap Yard Dawgs
Third base: Kelley Montalvo, Akron Racers
Shortstop: Sami Fagan, Akron Racers
Outfield: Kelly Kretschman, USSSA Pride
Outfield: Megan Wiggins, USSSA Pride
Outfield: Taylor Schlopy, Akron Racers
Pitcher: Monica Abbott, Scrap Yard Dawgs
Pitcher: Jordan Taylor, USSSA Pride
Pitcher: Jolene Henderson, USSSA Pride
Pitcher: Kelsey Nunley, USSSA Pride
Utility: Taylor Edwards, Chicago Bandits
At Large: Shelby Pendley, USSSA Pride
At Large: Taylor Gadbois, Dallas Charge
At Large: Hallie Wilson, USSSA Pride
At Large: Jill Barrett, Chicago Bandits
At Large: Lauren Haeger, Dallas Charge
At Large: Danielle Zymkowitz, Chicago Bandits
Follow Your Pride!
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.
About USSSA: The United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA), 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.
About National Pro Fastpitch (NPF): National Pro Fastpitch (NPF), an Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball since 2002, provides elite female athletes with an opportunity to pursue a professional career in diamond sports beyond their collegiate success. The 2016 NPF season will be televised on CBS Sports Network. Coverage includes the NPF College Draft presented by Bownet on Thur., April 14, followed by 23 regular-season games, a Championship Series Preview Special and the 2016 NPF Championship Series. The NPF recently announced that the Scrap Yard Dawgs, located in The Woodlands, Texas, will join the Akron Racers, Chicago Bandits, Dallas Charge, Pennsylvania Rebellion and USSSA Florida Pride for the 2016 season. National Pro Fastpitch players hail from the U.S., Australia, Canada, Japan, the Netherlands and New Zealand, representing the most accomplished and talented athletes in the sport of women’s softball