Four of the most successful Kentucky Softball Alumna will represent their teams at Tiger Park in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Beginning August 17th and ending the 20th, the National Pro Fast Pitch League (NPF) will hold their annual Championship series at a first time venue. Kelsey Nunley (2013-2016) will represent the USSSA Pride- A Miami, FL based team who is the overall number one seed with a record of 40-9. The overall number two seeded team, the Scrapyard Dawgs- A Houston, TX based team consist of Brittney Cervantes (2009-2012) and Christian Stokes (2013-2016) with a record of 31-18. The last Kentucky representative is a homegrown girl who currently serves as a volunteer assistant to the UK softball team. Griffin Joiner (2012-2015) is her name and her team is the Akron Racers who are based out of Cleveland, Ohio. They are the overall number three seed and had a regular season record of 26-24. All four of these young women have received either Rookie of the Year awards or Player of the Year. During the time of these women being at UK: Eight straight NCAA Tournaments, which include four regionals, three Super Regionals, and an appearance at the 2014 Women’s College World Series. In 2014, they finished fifth nationally. They were in two SEC Tournament Championship games, and the 2016 regular season runner-up (17-7) Over 200 games won, 80 SEC games won, 20 top 25 games won, 10 top 10 games one. Before their tenure, only one winning season and one NCAA tournament. Before the 2009 season, the record attendance was 479, and after 2016 it crippled that total and was 1,629. In 2016, Kelsey Nunley became the first ever First-Team All American to wear the beloved blue and white. These are four of my six personal favorites to ever play for Kentucky softball. (Sylver Samuel and Meagan Prince) They have exemplified what it has meant to be a Cat, with hundreds of hours of Community Service, Volunteer Work, and the best part is….. They all made the SEC Honor Roll all four years that they were in Lexington. After meeting them all except Cervantes in Early February, I felt as if I had known them since Kindergarten. They were warm, kind, funny, and sweet women who told me if I was ever in their city, to DM them and see if they could allot time to hang out with me. A total stranger. I could tell that they were all genuine and really valued talking to them. I look forward to the 17th and hope y’all do to.
The NPF is made up of six teams- Five from the US and one from China. They play from April to August and on average each earn the pitiful amount of 5,000 per season. The other three teams that aren’t home to UK players are the Texas Charge, (Dallas, TX) Chicago Bandits, (Chicago, IL) and the Beijing Eagles (Beijing, China) I am not only writing this article to tell you what great things our Alumni are doing, but also doing my part to speed the word about the NPF. Please tell your family and friends more about this league. This is a growing league that has its flaws, but is trying to increase the amount of teams and fans. The NPF in four words is: quick paced, fun, & interesting. Lets wish the best of luck to all four of our softball alumna.
Lastly, Griffin Joiner and Brittney Cervantes are one of the 12 finalist for the Golden Glove this season. The Golden Glove goes to the best player in the NPF each year. UK is one of two schools to have more than one player selected to be a finalist. (UCLA) This is a big award and needs to be shared with all of the #BBN. Don’t wait, the time is NOW!
I truly love to follow the NPF teams and I believe if you give it a trial, I guarantee you will too!!! Oh and in case you didn’t know, Kentucky is a hub for softball and we have a GREAT team!!!
Thanks for reading and be sure to spread this post so all of Kentucky knows about the NPF. Be surety check in tomorrow at 11AM to see Part two of my post of Southern Miss Defense! And don’t forget to follow @ukcoachlawson , @uksoftball , @coachjb_18 , and @ukfansallday on twitter! Thanks again for reading!