By Marty Gitlin
National Pro Fastpitch has renewed a partnership agreement with Nocona Athletic Goods as an official supplier and licensee of softball equipment.
The growing company will provide fastpitch bats, gloves, batting gloves and wristbands for the league.
Nokona, which is based on Nocona, Tex., has been manufacturing gloves since 1934. According to Managing Director Buddy Lewis, Nokona is the only company in America making gloves at that time that is still doing so.
Lewis said that gloves had been the core product in the Nokona line, but that they now also specialize in the manufacturing of all baseball and softball equipment, including wood bats, catchers equipment and batting gloves specifically designed for women competing in fast-pitch softball.
Lewis expressed satisfaction and a sense of optimism at the continuing relationship between his company and NPF. He added that his belief that National Pro Fastpitch will experience success in the future was a prime consideration in signing the agreement for 2007.
Womens softball is on fire, Lewis said. Thats because its on fire with kids. And the kids are looking at the professionals to project where they aspire to be in the sport of softball.
National Pro Fastpitch is a very well-run league. I met several of the owners and it was easy to see that theyre committed to making the league work. I believe the league will sustain itself for many years to come.
The support of committed companies such as Nokona is crucial to the long-term success and viability of the league, stated Cheri Kempf, Commissioner of NPF. We need more companies like Nokona, steeped in tradition and with a vision for the future, to step-up and help build the sport of fastpitch at the professional level. This will be even more crucial when softball is out of the Olympics after 2008.