Commissioner/President, National Pro Fastpitch
NPF Holds 2009 Senior Draft Live on Internet
Akron Racers selects Cochran from Arizona State for No. 1 Pick
AKRON – National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) and its five-affiliate teams held the 2009 NPF Senior Draft on Tuesday night which was broadcast for the first time in league history at The Softball Channel.com, live from the Cambria Suites Akron-Canton Airport location, official host of the event.
Each team had at least three selections in the five-round draft. The Akron Racers held eight of the 25 overall picks due to a draft-day trade with the Washington Glory for the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, which gave Akron the top two picks in the draft. The Rockford Thunder, Philadelphia Force and Chicago Bandits rounded out the first round.
With the first pick in the draft the Racers selected Arizona State’s All-American Kaitlin Cochran, making her the second Sun Devil in as many seasons to be selected with the No. 1 overall pick. In the 2008 draft, the Force selected Katie Burkhart with the first pick. Akron followed up the selection of Cochran with another All-American in Oklahoma pitcher D.J. Mathis.
The Rockford Thunder selected University of Houston outfielder Laurie Wagner with the No. 3 pick in the draft. While Philadelphia chose Baylor’s Brette Reagan at No. 4 and Chicago picked UMass pitcher Brandice Balschmiter with the final pick of the first round.
Rockford made the first selection of the second round and the sixth pick overall by choosing Arizona Wildcat third baseman Jenae Leles. The Racers made their third pick of the draft at No. 7 and chose Iowa pitcher Brittany Weil. Southeastern Conference (SEC) outfielders Kim Waleszonia and Lillian Hammond were selected at No. 8 and No. 9 by the Washington Glory and Philadelphia Force, respectively. Chicago added Northwestern infielder Tammy Williams with the No. 10 pick to close out the second round.
The Thunder led off the third round (No. 11 overall) by choosing Washington infielder Ashley Charters. Rockford’s final selections of the night came in the fifth round at No. 21 and No. 24. With those final selections, the Thunder chose Alabama catcher Ashley Holcombe and North Carolina outfielder Breanna Brown.
Akron continued a strong 2009 NPF Senior Draft by adding Oklahoma power-hitting first baseman Samantha Ricketts. Ricketts became the second Sooner selected on the night by the Racers, joining Mathis, who was selected at No. 2. The fourth round of the draft belonged primarily to the Racers as they held three of the five picks. With those selections, Akron added Melissa Pura (No. 17) from Cal-Poly, utility player Micaela Minner (No. 18) from Missouri and Oregon outfielder Sari-Jane Jenkins (No. 19). Akron’s draft ended in the fifth round with the selection of Stanford Cardinal pitcher Missy Penna.
After Akron selected Rickett’s in the third round, Washington selected the Florida Gators’ Stacey Nelson with the No. 13 pick in the draft. The Glory’s draft night concluded at No. 23 with the selection of Stanford infielder Maddy Coon.
Philadelphia’s final selection came in the fourth round and No. 16 overall. They chose Penn State outfielder Danielle Kinley. Like the Washington Glory, the Force had only three selections in the draft, which tied for the fewest amongst the five teams.
The Bandits had two selections in the third round and they added Sacramento State catcher Jamie Schloredt with the No. 14 pick and University of Houston shortstop Jessica Valis with the No. 15 pick. Chicago drafted another local player in the fourth round when they selected DePaul third baseman Amber Patton with the 20th selection. They added another Sacramento State product with the final pick of the draft when they chose outfielder Izmena Cabrera.
“I believe that we have seen another extremely competitive draft in the National Pro Fastpitch League," commented Cheri Kempf, NPF President/Commissioner and announcer for the draft. "I look forward to seeing the rookies selected tonight, make their mark among the already extraordinarily talented athletes that compete in this League. I would like to especially thank the Akron Racers and Cambria Suites in Akron for their hospitality and generosity in hosting this event and I sincerely thank Jim Urban and his staff at The Softball Channel for their expertise and partnership in making this a live event.”
The Pac-10 and SEC conferences led the way in this season’s draft with six and four picks, respectively. Sacramento State, Oklahoma University, Stanford University, University of Florida, and University of Houston each had two players taken from the draft.
Unlike years past where pitching was most dominant, there were a total of nine outfielders chosen in the 2009 draft. Re-broadcast information can be found at The Softball Channel.com.
Due to NCAA regulations, an active college senior-athlete is not eligible to sign with her respective franchise until her 2008 season is completed.
Major League Baseball is the Official Development Partner of National Pro Fastpitch in the category of women's professional fastpitch softball. The partnership, which began the fall of 2002, is part of The Commissioner's Initiative on Women and Baseball, a league-wide effort to help Major League Baseball and the 30 Major League Clubs build stronger relationships with female audiences.
National Pro Fastpitch is headquartered in Denver, Colorado. 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 Women’s Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Women’s Pro Softball League (WPSL).
2009 NPF Senior Draft Results
1 (1) – Akron Racers – Kaitlin Cochran, Outfielder, Arizona State
2 (2) – Akron Racers – DJ Mathis, Pitcher, Oklahoma
3 (3) – Rockford Thunder – Laurie Wagner, Outfielder, Houston
4 (4) – Philadelphia Force – Brette Reagan, Infielder, Baylor
5 (5) – Chicago Bandits – Brandice Balschmiter, Pitcher, Massachusetts
1 (6) – Rockford Thunder – Jenae Leles, Infielder, Arizona
2 (7) – Akron Racers – Brittany Weil, Pitcher, Iowa
3 (8) – Washington Glory – Kim Waleszonia, Outfielder, Florida
4 (9) – Philadelphia Force – Lillian Hammond, Outfielder, Tennessee
5 (10) – Chicago Bandits – Tammy Williams, Infielder, Northwestern
1 (11) – Rockford Thunder – Ashley Charters, Infielder, Washington
2 (12) – Akron Racers – Samantha Ricketts, Infielder, Oklahoma
3 (13) – Washington Glory – Stacey Nelson, Pitcher, Florida
4 (14) – Chicago Bandits – Jamie Schloredt, Catcher, Sacramento State
5 (15) – Chicago Bandits – Jessica Valis, Infielder, Houston
1 (16) – Philadelphia Force – Danielle Kinley, Outfielder, Penn State
2 (17) – Akron Racers – Melissa Pura, Infielder, Cal Poly
3 (18) – Akron Racers – Micaela Minner, Utility, Missouri
4 (19) – Akron Racers – Sari-Jane Jenkins, Outfielder, Oregon
5 (20) – Chicago Bandits – Amber Patton, Infielder, DePaul
1 (21) – Rockford Thunder – Ashley Holcombe, Catcher, Alabama
2 (22) – Akron Racers – Missy Penna, Pitcher, Stanford
3 (23) – Washington Glory – Maddy Coon, Infielder, Stanford
4 (24) – Rockford Thunder – Breanna Brown, Outfielder, North Carolina
5 (25) – Chicago Bandits – Izmena Cabrera, Outfielder, Sacramento State