The National Pro Fastpitch Championship came to an exciting close on Saturday afternoon with the USSSA Pride walking off the field as national champs. The 8 – 3 win over the Akron Racers propelled the Kissimee, Florida pro softball team to their second straight Cowles Cup and NPF championship title.
Lead by the likes of Cat Osterman, who threw 12 strikeouts and pitched a two-hitter, in game 1 of the championship series, combined with Danielle Lawrie’s relief performance in the final, gave the Pride the pitching prowess they needed to hold back the Racers in what many believe has become a hitter’s league. Akron, however, looked like they’d hold on for a victory with a 2-1 lead through the fifth inning, before the Pride tied it up in the sixth, then went ahead with a RBI single by third baseman Andrea Duran. First baseman, GiOnna DiSalvatore, then made it 4-2 before the end of the sixth with another RBI single. From there it was all Pride as they went on to take professional fastpitch softball’s top spot for 2014.
In only six seasons since joining the National Pro Fastpitch League, the USSSA Pride have dominated the professional fastpitch softball scene. After finishing second in the league in their first two seasons, the Pride have now won two consecutive championships. More importantly, they’ve helped drive the level of play that we’ve seen increasing throughout professional fastpitch softball. It’s exciting to watch and we hope it brings with it the media coverage it deserves along with a boom in younger generations taking up the sport.
The NPF championship wouldn’t be what it is without the competition along the way and teams like the Chicago Bandits, who gave the Racers a run for their money, and the PA Rebellion, who kept things incredibly close with the Pride, really made this year’s playoffs shine. These young women are giving today’s girls playing in summer leagues and high school, something to shoot for in their athletic careers – especially when the future of international play is somewhat uncertain.
But the key to the future success of the NPF is interest of fans and athletes just like you. Believe it or not, many of you can catch these professional fastpitch softball games in your own city, for little or no cost. As more of the locals attend games and draw attention to the sport, the league will certainly expand to more cities, providing more opportunities for young fastpitch softball athletes to play professionally. You can check out this year’s teams and rosters at the NPF website here: http://www.profastpitch.com/team/rosters/
So get ready for a bright future in fastpitch softball. With your devotion to the sport, we’ll certainly see the spread of professional fastpitch to every corner of the country in the next decade. Be the best fan you can be!.