Photo by Dina Kwit Courtesy of National Pro Fastpitch
ROSEMONT, Ill. – Chicago Bandits GM, Aaron M. Moore, announced today that the team has agreed to terms with utility player Natalie Hernandez for the upcoming 2016 season. This will be her third season with the Bandits.
Originally signed as a free agent following the team’s open tryouts in 2014, Hernandez has been a steady utility player for the Bandits during her first two seasons. She has played a variety of positions during her tenure with the Bandits, including third base, second base, right field and designated player. Hernandez’s role is expected to increase in 2016 following the retirement of third baseman Amber Patton.
“Natalie is going to be an important player for us this summer because of her versatility and ability to swing it from the right side of the plate,” said Moore. “She has the tools necessary to fill some holes for us and provides some punch at the plate. Nat is not afraid to get in the box and take her hacks and she is only going to continue to improve in the NPF.”
Hernandez wasted little time making an impact in the Bandits lineup, as she recorded her first professional hit, RBI and run scored in just her second National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) game in 2014. The University of Illinois-Chicago alum finished the 2015 season with a .204 batting average and a career-high six RBIs. She also collected six extra bases hits in 54 at bats, including two home runs and three doubles.
“I'm incredibly excited to get the opportunity to continue living out my dream in the best city, with the greatest team and fans,” exclaimed Hernandez. “Last summer was a blast on so many levels and I’m looking forward to providing a bigger contribution to our team’s success as we look for another Cowles Cup.”
Hernandez, 23, is currently serving in her first season as the assistant coach for the Transylvania University softball team in Lexington, Ky.
The defense of the Cowles Cup begins on Thursday, June 2 when the Bandits host the Scrap Yard Dawgs at the Ballpark at Rosemont for the 2016 home opener. Single-game tickets for all 2016 home games, including the home opener, will go on sale Monday, February 8 at 10 a.m.
Since 2005, the Chicago Bandits have been members of the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) league. Located in Rosemont, the Bandits provide an opportunity for female fastpitch players to further their careers at a professional level, and the roster has included such names as Jennie Finch, Stacy May-Johnson, Monica Abbott and Tammy Williams. The three-time NPF Champions, who are owned by Bill Sokolis, play at The Ballpark at Rosemont, the only stadium in the country built for a women's professional team. The 2016 season will be the Bandits 12th season in the NPF.
National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) is headquartered in Nashville, Tenn. 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 and has been since 2002.