Photo by Bill Diehm
Nashville, Tenn. – Twenty athletes were selected in the 2013 National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) College Draft held Monday at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tenn. The Draft was carried live on ESPN3.
The first pick in the Draft went to the Akron Racers, who selected Rachele Fico, LSU’s All-American pitching ace. A finalist for the 2013 USA Softball Player of the Year, Fico boasts a 1.57 ERA and 32 shutouts in her three seasons with the Tigers. She has also hurled 733 strikeouts, the fourth most in LSU’s history.
This marks the second year in a row that the number one draft pick came from LSU and the fourth straight year that the first selection came out of the Southeastern Conference. In 2012, the USSSA Pride selected LSU’s All-American Brittany Mack in the number one spot.
The four-team league focused heavily on the mound in the NPF Draft, as the first four picks were all pitchers. The New York / New Jersey Comets selected Hofstra pitcher Olivia Galati for the second overall pick in the Draft. Cal pitcher Jolene Henderson was picked third by the Chicago Bandits and Oklahoma pitcher Keilani Ricketts was selected fourth by the USSSA Pride.
“For NPF to be successful, it’s absolutely vital that we continue to attract the top college softball players and I’m pleased to see that a lot of those names were called in the Draft,” said NPF Commissioner Cheri Kempf. “As many of the League’s Olympic stars move on from the game, we must pass the torch to a new generation of elite softball players and I’m excited to see this top-notch group of players join the League. I’m confident that this class of rookies will help strengthen the growing popularity of professional fastpitch softball.”
The Southeastern Conference dominated the Draft with seven selections – including picks from LSU, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas A&M and Missouri. The Big 12 netted five picks with four of the players coming out of Oklahoma.
Each of the NPF’s four affiliate teams secured at least three players in the five-round draft. The Akron Racers and Chicago Bandits each picked up six players for their 2013 rookie class. The New York / New Jersey Comets selected five players and the USSSA pride picked three.
Due to NCAA regulations, an active college senior-athlete is not eligible to sign with her respective franchise until her 2013 season is complete. Drafting an athlete gives an NPF affiliate team rights to that athlete for two full seasons.
NPF Draft Results – Presented by BOWNET
1. Rachele Fico, P, Akron Racers (LSU)
2. Olivia Galati, P, NY / NJ Comets (Hofstra)
3. Jolene Henderson, P, Chicago Bandits (Cal)
4. Keilani Ricketts, P, Oklahoma, USSSA Pride (Oklahoma)
5. Jessica Shults, C, USSSA Pride (Oklahoma)
6. Jessica Moore, P, NY / NJ Comets (Oregon)
7. Michelle Gascoigne, P, Chicago Bandits (Oklahoma)
8. Ivy Renfroe, P, Akron Racers (Tennessee)
9. Brianna Turang, OF, Akron Racers (Oklahoma)
10. Cyndil Matthew, OF, NY / NJ Comets (UMass)
11. Maggie Hull, OF, Chicago Bandits (Kansas)
12. Briana Cherry, OF, Akron Racers (La.-Lafayette)
13. Raven Chavanne, OF/3B, Chicago Bandits (Tennessee)
14. Samie Garcia, SS, NY / NJ Comets (South Carolina)
15. Mel Dumezich, P, Chicago Bandits (Texas A&M)
16. Tess Sito, U/P, Akron Racers (Georgia)
17. Bridgette Del Ponte, 3B/SS, Akron Racers (Arizona)
18. Courtney Liddle, 1B, NY / NJ Comets (Virginia Tech)
19. Jenna Marston, SS/C, Chicago Bandits (Missouri)
20. Chelsea Thomas, P, USSSA Pride (Missouri)
About National Pro Fastpitch
National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) is the only professional women’s fastpitch softball league in the United States. Headquartered in Nashville, Tenn., the four-team league was created in 1997 to give female fastpitch players the opportunity to pursue a professional career in their chosen sport. NPF offers family friendly entertainment and showcases the world’s top talent in fastpitch softball, as all active former U.S. Olympians and many decorated college graduates play in the league. NPF is the Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball.