Cat Osterman doing her trademark pitching stance as she prepares for the 2015 season.
Cat Osterman in her trademark pitching stance as she prepares for the 2015 season. Photo by Kit Mohr.

Kissimmee, FL– June 5, 2015- The USSSA Florida Pride begin their season this Saturday, June 6th, in McKinney, Texas for their 2015 series opener against the newly formed Dallas Charge. The Dallas Charge will be hosting the Pride in a four game series at the Ballfields at Craig Ranch for this first series of the 2015 season.

Last season, the USSSA Pride secured the 2014 NPF regular season title with a record of 33-15 and clinched their third Cowles Cup by winning the 2014 NPF Championship Series. The Pride defeated the Akron Racers in two games to claim the 2014 NPF Champions title.

Individually, Pride players took home NPF Player of the Year (Andrea Duran), Pitcher of the Year (Cat Osterman), Rookie of the Year (Madison Shipman), and the Diamond Spikes Award (Breja’e Washington). This year marks the 7th season for the USSSA Pride in the NPF and they are looking to add a fourth NPF Championship title to their already esteemed accolades.

First pitch is set for 8:00 PM (ET) on Saturday and Sunday night (June 6th and 7th). For Monday and Tuesday night (June 8th and 9th), game time is set for 7:00 PM (ET) and both will be aired live on CBS Sports Network.

Pride Players to Watch:

  • Cat Osterman finished the 2014 regular season with an impressive 16-0 record with a total of 160 strikeouts in 100 innings pitched and the lowest ERA of the NPF league at .560. It’s no wonder this two-time Olympian was awarded Pitcher of the Year consecutively for 2013 and 2014.
  • Andrea Duran, 2014 Player of the Year, returns for her 6th season in the NPF. Leading the league in on base percentage and walks last season, .478 and 27 respectively, Duran’s consistency as a player and her experience is something the other teams should look out for.
  • Madison Shipman had an impressive rookie season last summer and was named 2014 Rookie of the Year. Compared to all NPF rookies last season, Shipman lead in RBIs (28), doubles (10), and on-base percentage (.417). She came second in batting average (.344), HR (5), walks (18), stolen bases (7) and slugging percentage (.534).
  • Hannah Rogers lead the Florida Gators to their first National Championship in her senior season (2014) and earned the WCWS Most Outstanding Player Award. With a career record of 127-31 and 833 career strikeouts in 988 innings pitched, Rogers is definitely a defensive asset.
  • Lauren Chamberlain was the number one overall pick in the 2015 NPF Senior Draft. Chamberlain broke the NCAA Division 1 Homerun record on May 1, 2015 when she launched her 91st homerun against North Texas. The new career mark now sits at 95 as Chamberlain launched her 95th in a Super Regional loss to Alabama. She ended the 2014 season with the best slugging percentage in NCAA history (.950).

Charge Players to Watch:

  • Jolene Henderson is a U.S. Women’s National Team Member (2014). She helped USA advance to play for the gold in the (ISF) Women’s World Championship last August. Jolene also earned the title of University of California’s winnginest pitcher with a record of 130-35. She ranks third all-time for Cal Bears softball with 1124 career strikeouts.
  • Eri Yamada is a two-time Olympian who led Japan to defeat Team USA in the 2008 Olympics. She was named Japan League Rookie of the Year and leading hitter in 2006, 2008 and 2011. Yamada also helped the Chicago Bandits win the 2013 NPF regular season title.
  • Lauren Haeger was selected 21st overall in the 4th round of the 2015 NPF Senior Draft. She ended the regular season for the Florida Gators with a career 317 strikeouts in 351 innings pitched. Haeger recently lead the Gators to their second National Championship (2015) and was also the first Florida player in history to earn USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year (2015).

Fun Facts:

  • The USSSA Pride won the 2014 NPF Championship. This marked the first time an NPF team, since 2008, won both the regular season title and the championship series title. It also marked the Pride’s third NPF championship title.
  • The last series the Pride played in Texas ran from June 26th-28th against the Chicago Bandits in Round Rock, Texas and featured one of three double headers of the season. The series ended as a tie (2-2); two wins for the Pride and two wins for the Bandits who took the DH.
  • Seven former University of Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech players will be featured in this series. Four former University of Texas Longhorns. Three on the Pride roster (Cat Osterman, Megan Willis, and Breja’e Washington) and one on the Charge roster (Taylor Thom.) Two former Texas A&M Aggies. Both on the Charge roster (Natalie Villarreal and Nicole Morgan). And finally one former Texas Tech Red Raider with the Charge (Mikey Kenney).
  • Lauren Chamberlain and Shelby Pendly played at the University of Oklahoma together. They ranked first and second in batting average and HR on the team, respectively.
  • Chamberlain, Freeman, Koerner and Wilson are all from the state of California and were all drafted in the 2015 Senior Draft to the Pride. They have also played together since they were just five years old.
  • Former Florida Gator players, Hannah Rogers and Lauren Haeger, will be playing against each other for the first time since playing together in the 2014 gator softball season. The two pitchers both pitched in the Gator’s 2014 National Championship victory against Alabama.
  • The Dallas Charge are the first NPF franchise to be based in Texas since the Texas Thunder left for Rockford, Illinois in 2007.

For tickets to the series visit www.dev.usssapride.com or purchase tickets at the gate of the Ballfields at Craig Ranch. The first two games of the series (June 6th and 7th) will be live streamed at 8:00 PM (ET) on www.usssalive.com/pride and the latter two (June 8th and 9th) will be aired on CBS Sports Network at 7:00 PM (ET). You can find your local CBS channel by visiting www.cbssportsnetwork.com. When prompted, enter your zip code and TV service provider in the “Channel Finder”.

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 NPF: 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.

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.