Photo by Maggie Bowles Courtesy of National Pro Fastpitch
Written By: C. Kent Lowe, LSU Athletics
BATON ROUGE, LA (August 16, 2017) – Veteran star Kelly Kretschman of the USSSA Pride, won her third consecutive Player of the Year honor to top the major awards handed out here Wednesday night at the annual NPF Awards Banquet presented by Visit Baton Rouge and hosted by the Crowne Plaza.
The event was held on the eve of the annual NPF Championship Series Presented by Marucci that begins Thursday at LSU’s Tiger Park. The USSSA Pride faces the Chicago Bandits at 5 p.m. CT and the Scrap Yard Dawgs meet the Akron Racers in the 8 p.m. CT nightcap in the best-of-3 semifinals. The championship is set to be decided on Sunday.
Kretschman, whose POY award was presented by Park Planet, also won the Best Offensive Performance honor presented by Louisville Slugger after hitting .500 during the regular season (a league record for batting average) with six home runs and 19 RBI. She led the league in average and was second in runs scored with 33. She posted an on-base percentage of .623 for the Pride and a slugging percentage of .793, both league leaders.
Coach Yvette Girouard, the former LSU coach, reminded Kretschman in her pre-dinner remarks that in one appearance at the old Tiger Park, Girouard chose to walk Kretschman just about every plate appearance. But Girouard said that she is really looking to see the former Alabama star hit in the new Tiger Park during the tournament.
The Pitcher of the Year presented by Diamond was given to the Scrap Yard Dawgs Monica Abbott. The former Lady Vol posted over 200 strikeouts for the third time in her career with 213 and was second in the league in ERA at 1.096. She posted a 17-3 record with two saves. She led the league in strikeouts by over 100 and won the Pitcher of the Year award for the fifth time in NPF history.
Chelsea Goodacre of the Pride was named the Gold Glove Award winner presented by Rawlings. This was the second year the award was given by Rawlings with the first one going last year to former LSU outfielder A. J. Andrews.
Andrews was featured speaking about the award in a Rawlings video prior to the presentation to Goodacre.
Shelby Pendley also of the Pride was named Home Run Champion (presented by Wilson/DeMarini) with 14 round-trippers.
The host for this year’s championship, LSU, saw one of its former players recognized as Bailey Landry of the Texas Charge was named the Rookie of the Year presented by 805 Stats and the Jennie Finch Award for success both on and off the field. Landry hit .348 for the season (fourth in the league) with 29 runs scored, five home runs, 11-of-13 stolen bases and 18 RBI.
The Finch Award was started by the league after the personable star pitcher retired in 2010.
A new award was presented by Crowne Trophy at the banquet for the umpire of the year, Craig Hyde. Hyde has umpired for 38 years and in July was named the new NCAA Supervisor The 38-year veteran, who was recently named the NCAA national coordinator of softball umpires.
Recently retired Southern University Coach Roger Cador presented Rally Spikes Award from 3n2 to the league’s leader in stolen bases (25), from the Texas Charge Taylor Gadbois.
The regular season champions were the USSSA Pride with an outstanding 40-9 mark, their fourth consecutive time to win the regular season title. The coaching staff of Lonni Alameda, Craig Snider and Travis Wilson and the team members were presented their awards by Vaultz.
A video was shown prior to the game saluting LSU’s Geaux Teal program and present Tiger Coach Beth Torina to raise awareness of ovarian cancer, a program that started small and has grown in numbers of participants and money raised. The NPF will be participating as well with events at Tiger Park during the championship series.
2017 All-NPF Team was presented by Easton:
Position Name Team
Catcher Chelsea Goodacre USSSA Pride
1B Hallie Wilson USSSA Pride
2B Emily Carosone Chicago Bandits
3B Natalie Hernandez Chicago Bandits
SS Shelby Pendley USSSA Pride
OF Taylor Gadbois Texas Charge
OF Kelly Kretschman USSSA Pride
OF Bailey Landry Texas Charge
DP Lauren Haeger Texas Charge
At Large AJ Andrews Akron Racers
At Large Allexis Bennett Scrap Yard Dawgs
At Large Brittany Cervantes Scrap Yard Dawgs
At Large Sahvanna Jaquish Chicago Bandits
At Large Shellie Robinson Akron Racers
At Large Sierra Romero USSSA Pride
At Large Nadia Taylor Texas Charge
Pitcher Monica Abbott Scrap Yard Dawgs
Pitcher Dallas Escobedo Texas Charge
Pitcher Keilani Ricketts USSSA Pride
Pitcher Jordan Taylor USSSA Pride
About National Pro Fastpitch (NPF)
National Pro Fastpitch (NPF), an Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball since 2004, provides elite female athletes with an opportunity to pursue a professional career in fastpitch softball beyond their collegiate and amateur success. The NPF affiliate teams consist of the Akron Racers, Beijing Shougang Eagles, Chicago Bandits, Scrap Yard Dawgs, Texas Charge and USSSA Florida Pride for the 2017 season. National Pro Fastpitch players hail from the United States, Australia, Canada and China among which are the most accomplished and talented athletes in the sport of women’s softball.