Although the Philadelphia Force hasnt selected their team theme song yet for the upcoming 2007 National Pro Fastpitch season, David Bowies Changes come to mind. The second year club is under new ownership. Tom Kleinman purchased the team over the winter, and Erin Statmore is now the assistant general manager. On the field, the Force will be led by three new coaches and will have a collection of new players by the time the season begins at home on June 7th vs. the expansion Washington Glory.
The last month has been very busy in trying to solidify the 2007 roster. We are very excited with the talent we have added to our team this year from returners to veterans of the NPF to the draftees, said Statmore.
Here is a profile of all Force players currently under contract for the 2007 season.
#1 Kristina Thorson- Thorson, a pitcher, will be making her NPF debut this season. She was undrafted by the NPF coming out of the University of California where she was named the 2006 Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year. In her college career, she has racked up 102 wins and 1,071 strikeouts. Her ERA of 0.83 in 2006 ranked seventh nationally while her 36 wins that year ranked third in the nation. She is a three time second team All-American. The right hander is a native of Lake Forest Park, Washington and was named the 2002 Gatorade Washington Player of the Year as a senior in high school.
#2 Chelsea Spencer- Spencer returns the Force for a second year. Last season, she split time between left field and shortstop while hitting .289 at the plate. Spencer also provided the Force with some power by hitting four home runs on the season. She ranked second on the club in at-bats (121), runs (22), RBIs (20), hits (35), and home runs. She also has played one year with the New York Juggernaut who drafted her in 2005 out of the University of California-Berkeley. During her senior campaign, Spencer led her team to the College World Series while earning Honorable Mention All Pac-10 honors. She finished the season with 52 hits, 15 stolen bases and 37 runs scored. As a junior, Spencer was named a third team All-American, an All-Pacific Region selection and a Second-Team All-Pac-10 member. She finished her junior season second on the Cal team in RBIs (36) and home runs (8) and third in doubles (9), total bases (95) and stolen bases (17). Her 17 steals were seventh among Pac-10 players. Expect the San Leandro, California native to see plenty of playing time again this year for the Force.
#4 Raquel Rocky Spencer- This Spencer (no relation to Chelsea) was acquired by trade from the Rockford Thunder in the off season. For the Thunder last year, she batted .250 while getting 124 at-bats. The outfielder started all 53 games for Texas A&M as a senior and was second on the team with 11 doubles. She handled all 34 chances in the outfield cleanly. From Katy, Texas, Spencer is a right-handed hitter who also could see playing time at catcher.
#5 Clare Burnum- The Canby, Oregon native is entering her fourth year in the NPF. This will be her first with the Force as she was acquired in a trade with the Rockford Thunder. She spent the previous three years with the Thunder. Burnum has a great eye for the strike zone as was noticed in 2005 when she led the NPF in walks (32) and batted .357. In that same season, she finished second in the NPF in RBIs (44), and in triples (6). Defensively, the Oregon State University graduate is solid at third base. In her rookie season of 2004, she started 57 out of 58 games at third base for the Thunder. During her senior year of college, she led the Beavers in home runs (10), doubles (15), and runs scored (41).
#6 Stacy Pestrak- Pestrak is back for her second year in the NPF and her second with the Force. The undrafted OF/2B joined the Force after her college season at the University of Florida. Last season, she hit .200 in 65 at-bats. During her junior year of college, Pestrak led the Gators in stolen bases (19) and sacrifices (13) in just her first year of Division I softball after spending her freshman and sophomore years at Sante Fe Community College. As a senior she batted .315 and had a fielding percentage of .958. Pestrak is from Gainesville, Florida.
#9 Julie Watson- Watson was acquired via a trade from the Rockford Thunder in the off season. She was with the Thunder in 2005 and 2006. The outfielder batted .280 last year and .272 the year before. She was a 2004 NFCA Second Team All-American while playing for Cal State Fullerton. A tough player to strikeout, Watson will add speed to the outfield and provide an opportunity for stolen bases. She hails from Mission Hill, California.
#10 Ashley Smith- Smith made her NPF debut last year for the Force. She appeared in seven games while serving as the backup catcher. A 2006 graduate of South Carolina, Smith was named first team CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America as a catcher for her senior year. Her 17 collegiate home runs rank her fifth all time and her 106 RBIs are eighth at South Carolina. Coming out of high school in Portage, Michigan, she was named the number one softball player in the state by the Detroit Free Press. Smith led her high school to three Division I Michigan state championships.
#19 Jodie Cox- Cox is about to begin her fourth season in the NPF. This will be her second year with the Force. She was 3-6 in the circle with a 2.40 ERA last season. Cox was 12-5 the year before with the New York Juggernaut. That season she posted a 2.05 ERA. She also tends to help herself at the plate. In 2005, she batted .284 in 81 at-bats. In the past, Cox was a member of the USA Elite National Team in 2003. She was named MVP of the Canada Cup helping lead Team USA to the tournament championship. A 2004 graduate of Cal State Fullerton, Cox helped the Titans to four straight Big West championships and four consecutive NCAA regional appearances. She completed her college career ranked among Cal State Fullertons all-time top in 10 in several offensive and pitching categories. She collected 209 career hits that included eight triples and 21 home runs. As a pitcher, she was 75-22 for her career which ranks her third all-time for the Titans. The left-hander is from Lancaster, California.
#20 Kellie Wilkerson- Wilkerson joins the Force this year after spending 2006 with the Connecticut Brakettes. This will be her fourth year in the league. The 1B/OF batted .283 while driving in 21 runs last year. Known for her monster home run power, Wilkerson batted .435 in 2005 while playing with the New England Riptide. She is a 2003 graduate of Mississippi State University, where she holds 31 records including season (.443), and lifetime (.429) batting averages. A four-time NFCA All-American, she led the South Eastern Conference twice in batting. Wilkerson finished her college career with 44 home runs and 175 RBIs. The Jacksonville, Florida native has also set the NCAA single-season save record with 14 in 2002.
#26 Jamie Dacey- Dacey appeared in 43 games for the Force in her NPF rookie campaign of 2006. The right fielder from nearby Langhorne, Pennsylvania had one home run and drove in nine runs for the Force last season. A 2005 graduate of Shippensburg University, she holds the schools record for career batting average (.420), ranks second in career runs (629), second in career hits (264), first in career triples (23), first in career RBIs (156), and is tied for first in career stolen bases (49). Additionally, she ranks first in hits in a season (78), triples in a season (11), RBIs in a season (58), and slugging percentage in a season (.852).
#29 Natasha Watley- Watley began her NPF career in 2005 with the Juggernaut. 2007 will be her second season with the Force. The smooth fielding shortstop appeared in 10 games for the Force last season while splitting time with the US National Team. For the Force, she batted .303 and stole four bases. In 2005, Watley batted .385 and stole nine bases for the Juggernaut. She was a member of the 2004 Olympic Gold Medal winning team at the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. She is a four-time first-team All-American from UCLA. In her senior year, she was crowned the Honda Award Winner for Top Collegiate Female Athlete, as well as the Pac-10 Player of the Year award. Watleys college career is marked by 395 hits, 252 runs scored, a career .450 batting average, and 158 stolen bases. She is the only Bruin in history to have three 100+ hit seasons. The lightning speed and quick bat of the Canoga Park, California native will be vital to the Force and their offensive attack.
#31 Emily Friedman- Friedman is entering her second season in the NPF, both with the Force. Last year, she appeared in 40 games, mostly at third base. While she struggled at the plate (.154 batting average), Friedman provided solid defense at the hot corner, only committing two errors all season. She is from Berkeley, California and graduated from University of California-Berkeley in 2006. Friedman became one of Cal's starters in 2005 after transferring from Wisconsin. Freshman year, Friedman was Wisconsins Freshman of the Year, starting in all 45 games. She notched a team-leading mark with 71 assists while playing second base. During her sophomore year at Wisconsin she had a remarkable season ranking third on her team in batting average (.315), hits (45), doubles (7), RBIs (18), total bases (54), slugging percentage (.378) and on-base percentage (.347). She was named first team All-Big-10 Academic in 2004. Friedman continued to shine at the University of Cal and had 51 starts (56 appearances) at third base, in right and left field and as the designated player. She led the Cal to the NCAA Fresno Regional tournament with a .500 batting average. She accumulated six multi-hit games and five multi-RBI games during her junior year.
#44 Jenna Hall- Hall is returning for her second year in the NPF and with second year with the Force. The 1B/DP led the Force last year in home runs (6), RBIs (24), and walks (21). Her home run total placed her third last year in the NPF while her RBI total placed her fifth in the league. Solid defensively at first base, Hall only committed one error during her rookie season. Hall is from Channahon, Illinois, and is a 2006 graduate of University of Illinois. During her senior campaign, Hall led her team to a Big Ten Tournament birth en route to being named First Team All-Great Lakes Region. Hall was named Team MVP and claimed Slugger of the Year award for the Illini in 2006 and rightly so. Hall led the Big Ten Conference in Home Runs (13), on base percentage (.654) while ranking second in total bases (110) and third in hits with 62 on the season. As a junior in 2005, Hall earned Third Team All-Big Ten honors and won the teams Slugger Award. She also set Illinois single season records for RBIs (43) and walks (36) despite only appearing in just 50 games for the Illini. In 2004 Hall earned First Team All Big Ten honors while leading the team in RBIs (31). Hall helped the Fighting Illini to another Big Ten tournament birth where she excelled with an impressive .454 batting average in tournament play. Hall sported an eight game hitting streak during Big Ten play in 2004.
And introducing the newest member of the Philadelphia Force
Meagan Hennessy- Hennessy will be making her NPF debut during the upcoming season. She is from Freehold, New Jersey and the pitcher graduated from Moravian College. Hennessy, who was a finalist for an NCAA Division III Postgraduate Scholarship, was 25-7 in the circle in 2006 with a 0.66 ERA, 16
shutouts, five saves, two no-hitters, 267 strikeouts and just 115 hits,
53 walks and 30 runs (22 earned) in 234 2/3 innings of action. Hennessy, who already owns every Moravian pitching record, also finished her career with her name throughout the NCAA Division III record books.
Hennessy, who also earned a spot on the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division III East Region First Team for the fourth straight season in 2006 and was a First Team NFCA All-American in 2004 and a Second Team honoree in 2005, finished her career with a 92-24 record and as one of the top pitchers in NCAA Division III history. Hennessy is ranked in the top 15 in shutouts with 53, complete games with 105, strikeouts with 876, wins with 92, innings pitched with 819 2/3, games started with 114, games with 129 and ERA at 0.91. Hennessy had 11 saves, five no-hitters, and 233 assists in her career.
Hennessy was a four-time Commonwealth All-Conference First Team selection, a four-time Commonwealth Conference Pitcher of the Year honoree, a three- time ECAC Division III Southern First Team All-Star and the ECAC Division III Southern Pitcher of the Year twice. She was also on the NCAA Division III Regional All-Tournament Team each of her four seasons while leading Moravian to the regional championship game each year. Hennessy led Moravian to the national title game in 2004 and was on the World Series All-Tournament Team.
For more information on the Force, please visit www.philadelphiaforce.com.