Viera, FL– June 6, 2017-The USSSA Pride open the 2017 season this Thursday, June 8 at 7:05 p.m. ET, against the Akron Racers in a three-game series in their new home at USSSA Space Coast Stadium in Viera, FL.
This is the first home opener in Pride history that will be hosted at the new USSSA Space Coast Stadium just ahead of USSSA’s 50th anniversary. After years of the Pride playing on the road this is the first time since 2010 that they have a true home stadium of their own.
The USSSA Pride are coming off their third-consecutive regular season championship (2014, 2015, and 2016) and their eighth-consecutive appearance in the NPF Championship Series. This season the Pride look to win their fourth Cowles Cup Championship since 2014 after falling to Chicago in the Final Series last season.
The Pride return 2016 Triple Crown Winner and NPF Player of the Year, Kelly Kretschman, and 2016 Jennie Finch Award winner Lauren Chamberlain, as well as all seven members of the 2016 All-NPF team: Megan Wiggins, Shelby Pendley, Jordan Taylor, Jolene Henderson, Kelsey Nunley, Hallie Wilson, and Kelly Kretschman.
The 2017 NPF Draft Class includes 2017 ACC Pitcher of the Year and number one draft pick, Jessica Burroughs, 2016 ACC Player of the Year, Alex Powers and their teammate All-ACC First Team Selection, Sydney Broderick, who signed as a free agent this June. Their joined with Arizona Wildcats’, 2017 All-Pac-12 First Team Selection, Mandie Perez, and 2017 Pac-12 All-Conference First Team Selection Mo Mercado.
Head Coach Lonni Alameda returns for her second summer with the Pride following a record breaking 41-15 regular season run that earned the Pride 2016 Coaching Staff of the Year. She will be assisted by Travis Wilson and Craig Snider of the FSU coaching staff.
Fans can also look forward to a special appearance by former USSSA Pride pitcher Cat Osterman on June 8th where the former Texas Longhorn will be throwing out the ceremonial first pitch to kick off the 2017 season.
Fans can watch every Pride game all summer long on NPFTV.com.
To purchase tickets to all of the 2017 season games visit usssapride.com/tickets. General admission prices are as follows: Adult: $10.00 Children (ages 2 – 12): $5.00 Senior (ages 65 & up): $5.00. Group of 25 or more: $9.
Pride Players to Watch:
- Kelly Kretschman: In 2016, Kretschman finished as back-to-back NPF Player of the Year, Offensive Player of the Year, Home Run Champion and became the first Triple Crown Winner in NPF history while earning a spot on the All-NPF team for the fifth time in her career. Kretschman led the league in HR (13), RBI (45) and AVG. (.466) and earned league-leading marks in runs scored (44), total bases (111) and only second in hits (63) and walks in 52 games.
- Shelby Pendley: In her second season Shelby Pendley finished the year hitting .338, 2nd best of the 2016 Pride roster and 4th best in the league. Her regular season on-base percentage (.447) and RBI (35) were 2nd best for the Pride and she led the Pride offense in doubles (9), tied with Kelly Kretschman. In 160 at-bats, she closed out her second season with 33 runs scored, 54 hits and 9 home runs.
- Jordan Taylor: For the second year in a row Jordan lead the league in saves (10) and earned a spot on the 2016 All-NPF pitching staff. In 40 innings pitched, Taylor kept her ERA to a league best average of .70 and led the Pride pitching staff once again in three major defensive categories: ERA (.70), Opposing Batting (.90) and saves (10). In 24 appearances, Jordan finished 22 games with 23 games in relief and struck out 54 batters.
- Jolene Henderson: Jolene started 13 games and completed her first season with USSSA with a winning record of 10 wins and 4 losses. In 71 innings pitched Jolene struck out 54 batters and kept her opponents to a .237 batting average. She ended the 2016 season with 3 games in relief and kept her ERA at 2.07. Her performance earned her a spot on the 2016 All-NPF team for the first time in her professional career.
Akron Players to Watch:
- Taylor Schlopy: Earned her second straight All-NPF honor, as an All-NPF outfielder. Tied for the team lead with 34 runs scored and 10 doubles. Broke the franchise record for career runs scored and career hits on July 11th, 2016 and August 6, 2016 respectively.
- Kelly Montalvo: 2016 All-NPF Third Baseman, her third consecutive All-NPF Selection. Montalvo tied Lisa Norris in her seventh season as the longest tenured Racers. Finished third in the NPF with 84 assists and had a .979 fielding percentage. Set personal season bests with 49 games played and 31 hits. Batted .231 with 22 runs scored and 17 RBI.
- AJ Andrews: First female athlete to win a Rawlings Gold Glove Award. Co-winner of the Rally Spikes Award for most stolen bases in the NPF with 15. Produced 30 hits, 24 runs, 7 doubles and 10 RBI. Hit her first professional home run on June 28, 2016. Earned ESPN SportsCenter’s #1 play on July 23, 2016 with a diving catch against the USSSA Pride.
- This series features two former Alabama players, one on the Pride roster Kelly Kretschman and one on the Racers roster Kelly Montalvo. Kretschman graduated in 2001, while Montalvo graduated in 2009.
- This will be the first home series hosted by the USSSA Pride at USSSA Space Coast Stadium.
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 National Pro Fastpitch (NPF)
National Pro Fastpitch (NPF), an Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball since 2004, provides elite female athletes with an opportunity to pursue a professional career in fastpitch softball beyond their collegiate and amateur success. The NPF affiliate teams consist of the Akron Racers, Beijing Shougang Eagles, Chicago Bandits, Scrap Yard Dawgs, Texas Charge and USSSA Florida Pride for the 2017 season. National Pro Fastpitch players hail from the United States, Australia, Canada and China among which are the most accomplished and talented athletes in the sport of women’s softball.
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.