DENVER National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) announced today the six players that will take part in the inaugural NPF Home Run Derby prior to the league all-star game on Wednesday, July 14 in Oklahoma City, Okla.
Six of the game's top power hitters will be on the field at Don E. Porter Hall of Fame Stadium, for the rounds that will leave spectators in awe, waiting for the next long drive.
Texas Thunder teammates, Clare Burnum and Lindsay Gardner, will highlight the group of six players that participate in the event. I am very honored to have been selected to participate in this event, said Thunder slugger Clare Burnum. It is going to be a lot of fun to be out there with some of the best hitters in the game. Burnum currently is the league leader in home runs with four.
The NY/NJ Juggernaut is the only other team that will put two players into the Challenge, with Kellie Wilkerson and Lyndsey Klein each taking part. Akrons Iyhia McMichael and Californias Jaime Foutch, who lives in Oklahoma City during the off-season, will round out the group of competitors for the inaugural event.
It is nice to be coming home to Oklahoma City, said Foutch. I just hope that I can put on a good show for the hometown crowd.
The Home Run Challenge will feature three rounds, with the first round giving the competitors ten outs. The top four will advance to round two. The top two scores from round two will advance to the final round, where they will get only five outs to hit as many home runs as possible.
The 2004 All-Star Game will feature two teams comprised of NPFs top players fighting for geographical bragging rights and midseason supremacy. Judy Martino of the Akron Racers will coach the east all-stars, where Texas Thunder head coach Wayne Daigle will lead the west team.
The NPF East All-Stars will consist of standouts from the Akron Racers, New England Riptide and NY/NJ Juggernaut, while the NPF West All-Stars will include all-stars from the Heat, Sunbirds and Texas Thunder.
In addition to the NPF All-Star Game on Wednesday, July 14, the two all-star teams will take on TEAM USA in a doubleheader on Tuesday, July 13. The first game is scheduled to begin at 5pm CDT
Tickets can be purchased by calling ASA at (405) 425-3427 or a ticket order form can be downloaded from the league website at www.profastpitch.com. Tickets for Tuesdays doubleheader are $10, tickets for the NPF All-Star Game on Wednesday, July 14th are only $8 or a two-day series ticket can be purchased at the discounted price of $15. Fans unable to attend will be able to listen to the games live by visiting www.npf.prosportsradio.com and clicking on the all-star game logo.
NPF, the worlds premier professional fastpitch softball league for women, consists of six teams located throughout the United States and features former USA Softball Womens National Team members, collegiate All-Americans and all-conference selections. NPFs 60-game regular-season schedule began on Tuesday, June 1 and concludes Wednesday, Aug. 18. The 2004 season features the inaugural NPF All-Star Game, the first-ever NPF Championship Semifinal and the first NPF Championship Series.
National Pro Fastpitch is the only professional womens fastpitch league in the United States. The league is headquartered in Denver, and has been in operation since 1997 under the names Womens Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Womens Professional Softball League (WPSL).
(Photo of Juggernaut sluggers, Lyndsey Klein and Kellie Wilkerson. Courtesy of David Saffran)