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National Pro Fastpitch Championship Series to Begin Tonight08/18/2011 4:03 PM ET
National Pro Fastpitch (NPF), the premier women's professional fastpitch softball league and a Major League Baseball Official Development Partner, will begin its four-day championship series this evening in Sulphur, Louisiana.
The NPF Championship Series, the league's hallmark event, is designed to showcase its athletic talent in a tournament setting.
ESPN2 will air a live telecast of the game on Sunday afternoon, and, if a second game is necessary on Sunday evening, it will air live on ESPN3 with a tape-delayed television broadcast Monday, August 22, on ESPN2. The telecasts will feature color analysis by former NPF player and two-time Olympian Jennie Finch and three-time Olympian Leah O'Brien-Amico. Bernie Guenther will call the play-by-play.
"NPF features the best female fastpitch athletes in the world, including Olympic Gold Medalists and Collegiate All-Americans. Combine that with the appeal and credibility of Jennie Finch, Leah O'Brien-Amico and Bernie Guenther, and we've got an exciting line up that will draw a full spectrum of sports fans," said NPF Commissioner Cheri Kempf.
"The developmental partnership with National Pro Fastpitch grew from Commissioner Selig's Initiative on Women and Baseball, which was launched in 2000 in order to expand Baseball's relationship with our female fan base," said John McHale, Jr., Executive Vice President, Administration & Chief Information Officer, Major League Baseball. "We're pleased that the talent, athleticism and dedication demonstrated by NPF players continue to inspire young women both to watch and participate in an elite sport."
In addition to the ESPN coverage, NPF will live-stream games on Thursday, Friday and Saturday through the league's website at profastpitch.com. Hall of Famer Yvette Girouard, the former LSU head coach, will be the color analyst on all streaming games, with Guenther covering the play-by-play.
The Championship Series format places the four NPF teams in seeded positions based on their regular-season standings. The No. 1 seed, USSSA Florida Pride, will play the No. 4 seed, NPF Diamonds, in a best-of-three series, while the No. 2 seeded Akron Racers, and No. 3 seeded Chicago Bandits will play each other in a best-of-three series. The winners of those two series will face off in a best-of-three Final Series for the title that begins at 8 p.m. ET Saturday, Aug. 20.
As part of the line up of NPF events this week, the season-long home run derby featuring NPF players from each team came to a close last night as the Chicago Bandits rookies Dorian Shaw, Alisa Goler, Megan Wiggins, Florida Pride members Jessica Mendoza, Charlotte Morgan and Samantha Findlay and Akron Racers rookie Hoku Nohara stepped up to the plate one last time to see which bat would be crowned champion in the 2011 NPF Battle of the Bats. Morgan of the Pride prevailed, winning the season-long contest for the second consecutive year. Morgan's total of 14 on the night propelled her to the number one spot as she also wrapped up the longest home run with a 333 foot poke.
In addition to providing analysis of the games, Jennie Finch will be hosting a four-hour training camp on Saturday morning for young girls interested in fastpitch softball. The clinic will include personal skills instruction and group drills.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.