In a trade Wednesday with the New England Riptide, the Arizona Heat obtained four players, including former Arizona State University standout Nichole Thompson. In exchange the Heat sent pitcher Danielle Henderson and a first-round draft pick in 2007 to the Riptide.
Joining the former Sun Devil second baseman in Arizona will be infielder Tara Knudsen (Georgia Tech), outfielder LaDonia Hughes (Louisiana State) and Stanford graduate Dana Sorenson. The four players made up the middle of the Riptide defense for a majority of the 2004 season, before Sorenson had to leave the team for personal reasons.
Knudsen, arguably one of the leagues strongest hitters, will be looked at to play several infield positions next season for the Heat, while Hughes could see time in both leftfield and centerfield. Knudsen finished the 2004 season with the highest fielding percentage in the league among shortstops at .965, as she committed only eight errors on the season. Thompson was also the best at her position last season, committing only six errors last year for a .971 fielding percentage.
All four players acquired by the Heat have agreed to contract extensions that will take them through the 2005 season. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not released.
Henderson, who began the 2004 campaign in Akron, came to the Heat in July and finished the season with an 8-4 combined record. In her seven starts with the Heat, she was 4-3 with a 1.37 ERA. The trade to New England is a bit of a homecoming for Henderson. She attended the University of Massachusetts and currently resides in New York.
The Arizona Heat, a member of National Pro Fastpitch, will begin their second season of play in June 2005. For additional information on the Heat or to purchase tickets, please contact the team directly at 520-296-9595 or visit them on the web at www.arizonaprofastpitch.com
National Pro Fastpitch is the only professional womens fastpitch league in the United States. The league is headquartered in Denver, and has been in operation since 1997 under the names Womens Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Womens Professional Softball League (WPSL).