Kissimmee, FL – September 15, 2014 - USSSA is pleased to announce professional softball is back this fall. Throughout November, the USSSA Florida Pride will travel to six colleges and universities across the Southeast as part of their 2014 Fall Tour, sponsored by Boombah. The back-to-back National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) Champions will take on the University of Georgia, Florida State, Georgia Tech, the University of Alabama-Birmingham, Mercer, and Wallace State as part of their exhibition schedule. Additionally, in conjunction with USA Elite Select, the Pride players will take part in various softball clinics and team up with 18U USA Elite Select showcase teams to compete and take part in community events throughout Georgia and Alabama.
The Fall Tour offers fans exposure to some of the game’s greatest players including 2014 NPF Player of the Year and Olympian Andrea Duran (UCLA), two-time Olympian Kelly Kretschman (Alabama), and 2013 NPF Offensive Player of the Year GiOnna DiSalvatore (UCLA). Other players participating in the 2014 Fall Tour include Danielle Lawrie (Washington), Courtney Ceo (Oregon), Brigette Del Ponte (Arizona), Amanda Kamekona (UCLA), Alexa Peterson (Oregon), Kristyn Sandberg (Georgia), Jordan Taylor (Michigan), Chelsea Thomas (Missouri), Cassie Tysarczyk (Texas A&M), Breja’e Washington (Texas) and Megan Willis (Texas).
This marks the second consecutive year the Pride have featured a Fall Tour with exhibition games against college teams. Additionally, USSSA helped sponsor the NPF Back-to-School Tour from 2010-2012 where players from all NPF teams traveled across the country taking on various college programs. The Fall Tour offers the USSSA Pride and the NPF a chance to play in front of crowds who may not have been previously exposed to professional softball. It also offers future and current stars of the game to come together in dynamic college atmospheres as well as the local communities.
Veteran catcher Megan Willis offers her perspective on the opportunities the Fall Tour creates. “The Fall Tour is such a unique experience for everyone involved. It’s a great way to get the softball community out in the fall, and hopefully bring new fans to the college team as well as bring awareness of the NPF to the loyal college softball fan. It’s a blast for us to be able to go back and play at our alma mater or visit a completely new campus and community to see what college would have felt like at that location. On the flip side, the college players have a chance to compete against women they grew up watching or maybe idolizing—gold medalists, Players of the Year, National Champions, and All-Americans.
The 2014 Fall Tour kicks off at perennial top-25 powerhouse Georgia at Jack Turner Stadium in Athens, Georgia. This first stop offers current Pride catcher and former Bulldog All-American Kristyn Sandberg a chance to return to her alma mater. A list of Georgia Bulldogs have played in the NPF including 2011 Rookie of the Year Alisa Goler and 2013 Player of the Year Megan Wiggins.
From there, the Pride will participate in a camp with USA Elite Select and Tomorrow’s Champions in Powder Springs, Georgia. On November 8th, the Pride remain in Georgia to face Georgia Tech in Atlanta. The five-time ACC Champion Lady Jackets have a rich history of NPF players including Jessica Sallinger, Caitlin Lever, Aileen Morales, Savannah Brown, Kelsi Weseman, and 2014 All NPF member Ashley Thomas. Former USSA Pride player and current Akron Racer Charlotte Morgan is currently an assistant coach for Georgia Tech.
Following the game against Georgia Tech, Pride players will take the field with and against 18U players participating in the USA Elite Select 18U Showcase in Cumming, Georgia. This offers young players a chance to play alongside some of the game’s greatest players. On November 11th, Wallace State will host the Pride in Hanceville, Alabama. Wallace State is one of the top junior college programs in the country having won the 2013 and 2008 National Championships. Before the game, Pride and Wallace State players will host a camp at the stadium.
The following day, November 12th, the University of Alabama-Birmingham will host the Pride in Birmingham, Alabama. UAB is one of the up-and-coming programs in Division I softball as they have made five consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament becoming one of 23 teams in the country to accomplish that feat. Former UAB pitcher Lannah Campbell became the first UAB player to play professionally when she signed with the Akron Racers in 2014.
November 13th, the Pride travel back to Georgia where they face Mercer University in Macon, GA. Mercer is coming off their best finish in program history where they won a program-best 34 wins and finished as runner-up in the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament.
To wrap up the Fall Tour, the Pride will face 2014 Women’s College World Series (WCWS) participants Florida State University and the 2014 NCAA Player of the Year Lacey Waldrop. The Seminoles capped off an impressive 2014 season by returning to the WCWS for the first time since 2004. Head coach Lonni Alameda’s team should provide a great contest as well as a great atmosphere at JoAnne Graf Field in Tallahassee.
To follow the USSSA Pride during their Fall Tour make sure to visit our website www.usssapride.com and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Tickets will be available at the gates for each game.
About USSSA Florida Pride:
The USSSA Florida Pride is a professional franchise in the National Pro Fastpitch League that is owned and operated by USSSA. The amateur organization of USSSA has multi-sport coverage and encompasses teams and players from the United States and abroad.
National Pro Fastpitch is headquartered in Nashville, TN. The league, created to give elite female fastpitch players the opportunity to pursue a professional career in their chosen sport, has operated since 1997 under the names of Women’s Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Women’s Pro Softball League (WPSL). NPF is the Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball in the category of women’s fastpitch softball since 2002.
The United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA), headquartered in Osceola County, Florida, USSSA is the World’s Largest Multi-sport Athletic Organization. Founded in 1968, USSSA has grown to over 3.7 million participants, competing in 13 nationally sanctioned sports including Baseball, Fastpitch, Slow Pitch, Karate, Basketball, Soccer and more! For more information on USSSA and to register your team visit USSSA.com. Also be sure to visit USSSAToday.com for the latest USSSA.