National Pro Fastpitch announced today the television commentators for the League's hallmark event, the NPF Championship Series. The ESPN2 live telecast of the Sunday, Aug. 21, at 2 p.m. EST final, will feature Jennie Finch and Leah O'Brien-Amico as color analysts with Bernie Guenther on the call. The trio will also do the "if necessary" games at 5 p.m. ET final, which will run live on ESPN3.com with an encore presentation an ESPN2 Monday, Aug. 22, at 10 p.m. ET. In between the action, Finch, O'Brien-Amico and Guenther will also be providing insightful video clips of the event that will air throughout the Series on ESPNw.com. The Championship Series runs August 18-21 and will take place at McMurry Park in Sulphur, La.
In addition to Sunday's ESPN coverage, the NPF will internet stream Thursday - Saturday's games live. Hall of Famer and former LSU head coach, Yvette Girouard will be the color analyst on all streaming games, with Guenther covering the play-by-play. Prior to Sunday's finals, all live streamed games will be available through the League website at profastpitch.com and also through all four team websites.
Finch spent five years in the NPF before retiring in 2010. A former pitcher for the Arizona Wildcats, Finch was a 2004 and 2008 Olympic Gold and Silver Medalist, respectively. As a professional, Finch played her entire NPF career for the Chicago Bandits. While with Chicago, Finch was twice named All NPF and was awarded Co-Pitcher of the Year in 2005. On July 9, 2010 Finch fired a seven inning perfect game against the Akron Racers. Collegiately, Finch still holds the NCAA record for wins with 60 consecutive, after finishing her junior season with a record of 32-0. She also was a three-time All-American and was twice given the Honda Award for the nation’s best collegiate softball player.
Amico is a three-time Olympic Gold Medalist. She played outfield and infield for Team USA in the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games. The Eastvale, Calif., native also led the Arizona Wildcats to three NCAA titles and was a three-time NFCA First Team All-American with a career batting average of .428. She currently holds the record for batting average during the Women’s College World Series, hitting .750 in the 1994 tournament. Along with Finch, Amico was one of ten players named to the NCAA Division I All Decade Team.
Girouard is a three time Hall of Famer as the Head Softball Coach for the University of Louisiana-Lafayette and LSU. One of the winningest coaches in NCAA history, Girouard is one of only three coaches to take two separate teams to the Women's College World Series, taking the Cajuns three times and the Tigers twice. Her accomplishments also include being named SEC Coach of the Year on four separate occasions - the most of any softball coach in the conference. Most recently, Girouard was named the Sugar Bowl Most Outstanding College Coach of the Year by the New Orleans Hall of Fame. Girouard retired from active coaching at LSU following the 2010 season.
Bernie Guenther is a popular play by play announcer and has a diverse resume in covering a wide array of college sports including football, softball, swimming, track and field, men's and women's basketball, baseball, soccer, volleyball, tennis, and gymnastics. He has called conference action for the SEC, Big Ten, ACC, Mountain West, C-USA, and Sunbelt Conference. It has been softball though, that has captivated Guenther and catapulted his broadcasting to the professional level. He has been involved in television and internet telecasts of NPF action since 2008. At the international level, Guenther called the action in the 2010 Olympic Winter Games for figure skating, short track speed skating and hockey. He is slated to cover swimming and diving at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
The Championship Series format places the four NPF teams in seeded positions based on their regular-season standings. The No. 1 seed, USSSA Florida Pride will play the No. 4 seed, NPF Diamonds in a best-of-three series, while the No. 2 seeded, Akron Racers, and No. 3 seeded, Chicago Bandits will play each other in a best-of-three series. The winners of those two series will face off in a best-of-three Final Series for the title that begins at 8 p.m. ET Saturday, Aug. 20. Game two of the Championship Series will air live on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com Sunday, Aug. 21 at 2 p.m. ET. The “if necessary” game will follow at 5 p.m. ET. This game will be live on ESPN3.com and will air on ESPN2 on Monday, Aug. 22, at 10 p.m. ET.
Session 1 Thursday August 18th
Game 1 #2 vs. #3 6:00 p.m.
Game 2 #1 vs. #4 8:30 p.m.
Session 2 Friday August 19th
Game 3 #1 vs. #4 6:00 p.m.
Game 4 #2 vs. #3 8:30 p.m.
Session 3 Saturday August 20th
Game 5“If Necessary” #1 vs. #4 11:00 a.m.
Game 6 “If Necessary” #2 vs. #3 1:30 p.m.
(If there is only one “If Necessary” game, it will be played at 11:00 a.m.)
Session 4 Saturday August 20th
Game 7 Final Series 7:00 p.m.
Session 5 Sunday August 21th
Game 8 Final Series 1:00 p.m.
Session 6 Sunday August 21st
Game 9 “If Necessary” Final Series 4:00 p.m.
•Format is three rounds of “best of 3” Series’. It begins with #1 Seed vs. #4 Seed and #2 Seed vs. #3 Seed. The Winners of those two Series’ will play each other in a “best of 3” Final Series to determine the eventual Championship Series Champion.
•All Times are listed as Central Standard Time – the copy has the times as Eastern so should be consistent