STRATFORD The National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) has selected its All-NPF Team as announced today by league president, Pat Linden.
The league selected 13 first team players and six At-Large selections to round out the 19-player All-NPF Team. Included on the team are members from all seven NPF franchises, with the Chicago Bandits leading the way with five selections, including the leagues rookie of the year in Stacy May.
Leading the way for Chicago this season is catcher Selena Collins. Collins has been the top catcher for the Bandits since her arrival into Chicago from the Texas Thunder in 2005 and she has been an All-Star her first two seasons with the club. In 2006, she batted .263 with 15 RBIs, seven doubles and one homerun. Collins seven doubles are third in the NPF and tied for best on the Bandits with Stacy May and Nicole Trimboli.
Anne Steffan was named All-NPF as an outfielder for the 2006 season. Steffan ended the regular season with a .400 batting average, the second highest in the league and tops for the Bandits. In addition to the .400 batting average, Steffan has notched 15 runs, 38 hits, one double and 11 stolen bases. In Steffan's two years with the Bandits, she has stolen 34 bases, the most by any Bandit player in history. Steffan was also named All-NPF in 2005.
All-NPF pitcher Amy Harre proved herself to be the ace pitcher for the number one team in the NPF. Harre closed out the regular season with a 1.41 ERA, good enough for fourth in the league. The Bandit hurler is third in the league in wins with 10, first in the league in saves, fifth in games started and seventh in complete games. Harre acquired two losses, earned three saves and used her blazing speed to strikeout 61 batters over 114.1 innings in her second year as a Bandit. She is the Bandits all-time save leader and single season save leader with 12 and nine, respectively.
Jaime Clark is the Bandits all-time and single season RBI leader. She leads the league with 32 RBIs in 2006 and was selected to one of the At-Large spots. The second year veteran also has the fourth highest homerun total in the league with five. In 101 at bats, Clark notched a .317 batting average with 19 runs, 32 hits, 32 RBIs, two doubles, three triples, five homeruns and 17 walks. Her three triples are third best in the NPF and best on the Bandits.
In just her rookie season, May proved to be one of the top players in the league and was named the 2006 NPF Rookie of the Year. May replaced National Team member Vicki Galindo at third base this season and she did so without skipping a beat, as she committed two errors at the hot corner. Mays bat has also been a big presence for the Bandits this season. She maintained a .305 batting average with 16 runs, seven RBIs, seven doubles and one homerun.
One of the top players in the league, Akron Racers outfielder Iyhia McMichael proved to be a leader offensively and defensively again in 2006 to make her third appearance on the All-NPF Team. She led the Akron Racers in six offensive categories including batting average (.333), On-base percentage (.450), runs scored (26), hits (44), doubles (9) and walks (26). McMichael, the 2004 NPF Most Valuable Player, also had four homeruns on the year and seven stolen bases.
Oli Keohohou was the first of two At-Large selections for Akron this season. Keohohou blasted eight homeruns and batted in 28 runs in 2006. She walked 21 times. She led the team in homeruns, RBIs and slugging percentage and is now third on the all-time homerun list for the Racers with 14.
After being the winning pitcher in the NPF Championship game in 2005, All-NPF pitcher Radara McHugh of the Akron Racers came back in 2006 to finish second in the NPF with a 1.24 ERA. She was tied for the league-lead in wins with 15. She also led the Racers in strikeouts (101), complete games (14), innings pitched (135.1) and walks allowed (63). McHugh held opposing batters to an impressive .187 batting average and only allowed two runs in her final 24 1/3 innings pitched this season.
Sarah Pauly completed her first professional season in dominating fashion, as she was not only an All-NPF selection, but also the leagues 2006 Pitcher of the Year. She finished the 2006 NPF regular season schedule first in the league in ERA (1.22), tied for the most wins (15), and second in strikeouts (138). She pitched 143 innings for the Connecticut Brakettes, giving up just 94 hits and 36 walks.
Jessica Merchant returned to the Brakettes as a pro for the 2006 NPF season and avoided the sophomore jinx and then some. Merchant became one of the leagues top offensive threats, as she led the league with 12 home runs, was second in RBIs (31), and third in batting average (.354). Merchant joined Pauly with some additional hardware in 2006. The power-hitting shortstop was named the 2006 NPF Offensive Player of the Year.
Kelly Kretschmans 2006 Stratford homecoming was an impressive one, as she hit .410 to lead the Connecticut Brakettes and the National Pro Fastpitch in batting average. She also led the league in on-base percentage (.566) and walks (35). Kretshman smashed three homers and nine doubles, as she set the table for the Brakettes lineup, and played an impeccable center field.
Three-year Riptide player Lyndsey Angus had arguably the best season of any player in the league helping New England to a 24-17 record. In the 40 games that Angus started, she committed just one error, a feat she also accomplished in 2004. Angus was fourth in the league in batting average at .345 and she tied for fifth with 23 RBIs. Because of her consistent player in 2006, Angus was named the NPF Player of the Year. Listed on the roster as a utility player, Angus played first base this season for Coach Sharon Drysdale, but has played seven different positions for the Riptide.
New England hurler Jocelyn Forest is tied for wins with 15 and was a factor in most of the Riptide's 24 wins this season. She accumulated three saves along the way and was able to complete 11 of the 16 games she started. Her 1.29 ERA was good enough for third in the league. This is Forest's second selection to the All-NPF team.
Third baseman Jackie Pasquerella joined teammates Forest and Angus on the All-NPF team as an At-Large selection. The three-year league veteran finished second on the team to Angus in hits and batting average and she struck out just nine times in 108 at-bats. Pasquerella, known more around the league for her defensive ability, committed just three errors all season long.
The first of two players selected to the All-NPF team from the Texas Thunder is centerfielder Kristen Zaleski in an At-Large position. Zaleski, who was the 2005 NPF Most Valuable Player, led the Thunder in hitting with a .322 batting average and virtually every other offensive category. The three-year league veteran led the team in hits (46), runs (27), doubles (5), triples (7), stolen bases (16), walks (21), on-base percentage (.412) and slugging percentage (.455). She also recorded eight outfield assists on the year.
The Thunders second selection is pitcher and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Christa Williams. After winning the NPF Triple Crown in the circle in 2005, Williams pitched almost as well in 2006. The three-year veteran finished the year fourth in wins with 11 and fifth in earned run average at 1.72. Her most impressive stat in 2006 is her strikeout total. In 142.2 innings of work this season, Williams struck out a league-high 161 batters. She is the only person to strikeout at least one batter per inning this season.
Infielder Carri Leto led the way for Philadelphia in its inaugural 2006 season. In addition to being named to the 2006 All-NPF team, Leto was also honored as the 2006 NPF Defensive Player of the Year for her success in the infield. Leto led the Force in more categories than just defensive, as she made significant impact in many offensive categories while serving as the lead-off batter for most of the season in the absence of Natasha Watley and Sarah Fekete. She led the team in at-bats (137), runs (27), hits (42), triples (1), and was second in batting average (.307) and stolen bases (5). Leto was the backbone in the infield for the Force, committing only 6 errors in 198 chances at second base.
Jenna Hall entered NPF play fresh off of an impressive career at the University of Illinois, including a stellar senior campaign in which she earned first team All-American honors. Hall continued her slugging power at the plate professionally, leading the Force in homeruns (6), RBIs (24), walks (21), and slugging percentage (.423). As a mainstay at first-base, Hall committed only one error on the season.
Second baseman Nichole Thompson earned an At-Large spot on the All-NPF Team as a member of the Arizona Heat for her outstanding work at the plate this season. Thompson ended the season second on the team with a .317 average. She finished the year leading the NPF in both hits (46) and runs (26). Thompson also ranked second in at-bats (145), fourth in RBIs (24) and eighth in batting average. She led the Heat in several offensive categories, including hits, runs, RBIs and total bases (56). Her 12 game hitting streak set a franchise record and she also added an eight game hitting streak. She currently holds the Heat career records in hits (94), runs (57) and doubles (18).
NPF concludes its 2006 season this weekend when the winner of todays semifinal games advance to the championship game on Sunday evening at 6:00 p.m. in Stratford, Connecticut. All games will be played at DeLuca Field, the home of the Brakettes. Fans can listen to all of the action live by visiting www.ctbrakettes.com.
National Pro Fastpitch is headquartered in Denver, Colorado. 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 Womens Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Womens Pro Softball League (WPSL).