Following dinner along with comments by Rosemont Mayor Bradley Stephens and NPF Commissioner, Cheri Kempf, the awards kicked off with the announcement of the 18-member All-NPF Team, presented by Combat Sports.
Due to a tie at the position of shortstop between Chicago's Tammy Williams and USSSA's Natasha Watley, the 2013 All NPF squad expanded to 19. Four rookies peppered this year's All NPF winners, including 3 pitchers; Chicago's Andi Williamson and Michelle Gascoigne won in the category of Pitcher, while NY/NJ's Olivia Galati reeked in an At-Large award. The fourth rookie on the All NPF squad was Chicago's outfielder, Kimi Pohlman.
The 2013 Awards Banquet was highlighted by the coveted Player of the Year Award presented by Mizuno, which went to Megan Wiggins of the Chicago Bandits. Wiggins, who led the league in average nearly all season long finished with a blistering .433. Along with that, Wiggins led in Homeruns (11), slugging % (.780), OBP (.532), and OPS (1.312), while finishing second overall in RBI (35).
The Rookie of the Year award, presented by Miken, returned to Chicago after a year hiatus as pitcher Andi Williamson was named most outstanding of all newcomers. Williamson was third in the league in both wins (9) and ERA (1.67). Williamson hails from Marshall University and was an undrafted free agent pick-up for the Bandits in 2013.
The Defensive Player of the Year, presented by Wilson, went to USSSA's second baseman, Ashley Charters who had 58 put-outs and 61 assists while remaining errorless for 2013.
Offensive Player of the Year was presented by Louisville Slugger and was a tie between Chicago's Megan Wiggins and USSSA's Gionna DiSalvatore. While Wiggins led in nearly all of the major offensive categories, DiSalvatore swiped the top spot in RBIs with a total of 43.
The objective categories were presented for most home runs and most stolen bases. The Home Run Award Presented by Worth went to the Chicago Bandit's Megan Wiggins, who had 11 total round-trippers on the season. The Diamond Spike Award presented by Ringor went to veteran, Caitlin Lowe of the USSSA Pride, who nabbed 16 successful stolen bases on 20 attempts.
Coaching Staff of the Year presented by Schutt went to the staff of the Chicago Bandits. The Bandits finished with a regular season record of 36-12, which also earned them the regular season Ringor Cup. The Bandits finished with a team batting average of .305 and led the league offensively in Runs (273), Home Runs (45), RBI (247), Total bases (638), Walks (170), and triples (15). They also produced the lowest team ERA (2.03) while yielding the fewest runs, earned runs, and walks, from the circle.
The third annual Jennie Finch Award went to Chicago's Vicky Galindo. Along with her eight-year career in the NPF (all in Chicago), Galindo earned a silver medal in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. The Jennie Finch award is given to the player who best exemplifies the character and qualities of its famous namesake, and who is considered to positively impact the game both on and off the field. Galindo recently announced her intention to retire following the 2013 season and became only the 4th player in Bandit's history to have her jersey retired.
The NPF Awards contenders are initially nominated by the four affiliate teams. Once nominations are compiled, a ballot is formed and voted on by an owner representative from each team. Final voting for the awards happens at the conclusion of the regular season.
The league's Championship Series begins Thursday, August 22 at The Ballpark at Rosemont, in Rosemont, Ill.
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