Kissimmee, FL– June 2, 2016- The USSSA Florida Pride is pleased to announce the signing of former Florida Gator Kelsey Stewart. Kelsey, who’s arguably the most accomplished Florida Gator softball player of all time, was selected 12th overall in the 2016 National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) draft.
“I’m super excited and blessed to get this opportunity to play with the Pride. I’m looking forward to playing with all of these extremely talented and decorated ladies. How many people can say they got to play with their Olympian idols they looked up to as a kid?”
The 2015 SEC Player of the Year finished her career most notably with two back-to-back NCAA Championships (2014 & 2015) plus a long list of accolades and records.
The two-time NFCA First Team All-American and three-time Team USA member is one of only two players in NCAA history to post 30+ steals and 100+ hits in a single season, an accomplishment she reached twice in her career. Kelsey holds Florida’s career records in batting average (.417) and on-base percentage (.476), total hits (293), triples (27), and stolen bases (98).
In her junior season, Stewart led the Gators in almost every major offensive category. Her .435 batting average ranked fourth in the SEC and she led the Florida offense in runs scored (71), hits (101), doubles (19), triples (11), total bases (148), and stolen bases (26).
“Kelsey Stewart brings a stellar offensive and defensive talent which will prove to be a real asset to this great mix of rookie and seasoned veterans,” commented Don DeDonatis, General Manager. “Her experience at Florida under former Pride Head Coach Tim Walton, will give her a definite edge in the NPF and I look forward to watching her grow and develop her professional career.”
Aside from her raw talent, Kelsey hopes to bring love and passion for the game to the Pride and hopes to learn something new from the greatest athletes in the game every single day.
Kelsey Stewart joins former Florida teammates Hannah Rogers and Kirsti Merrit for the 2016 season. Rogers, Merritt and Stewart were a part of the 2014 roster that led Florida to its first national title in school history. All three played under the guidance of Florida Head Coach Tim Walton, who coached the USSSA Pride in 2010 and 2011.
“I’ve never met a person that loves the game of softball more than Kelsey Stewart. She spends more time, she knows the history of softball, she knows the players of softball, she has a love for young kids in softball — her brand and what she brings is tremendous. With her playing for the Pride and playing for an organization that I had the great fortune and opportunity to coach with, I know what kind of a brand they have. I know it’s not just about winning softball games for the Pride. It’s about growing the USSSA brand, it’s about growing the game of softball, it’s about giving back to the game of softball and becoming a professional along the way that you can have a wonderful career and a wonderful life doing,” commented Florida Head Coach Tim Walton.
About USSSA Florida Pride: The USSSA Florida Pride is a professional franchise in the National Pro Fastpitch League that is owned and operated by USSSA. The amateur organization of USSSA has multi-sport coverage and encompasses teams and players from the United States and abroad.
About USSSA: USSSA is headquartered in Osceola County, Florida. USSSA is the World’s Largest Multi-sport Athletic Organization. Founded in 1968, USSSA has grown to over 3.7 million participants, competing in 13 nationally sanctioned sports including Baseball, Fastpitch, Slow Pitch, Karate, Basketball, Soccer and more! For more information on USSSA and to register your team visit USSSA.com. Also be sure to visit USSSAToday.com for the latest USSSA.
About National Pro Fastpitch (NPF)
National Pro Fastpitch (NPF), an Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball since 2002, provides elite female athletes with an opportunity to pursue a professional career in diamond sports beyond their collegiate success. The 2016 NPF season will be televised on CBS Sports Network. Coverage includes the NPF College Draft presented by Bownet on Thur., April 14, followed by 23 regular-season games, a Championship Series Preview Special and the 2016 NPF Championship Series. The NPF recently announced that the Scrap Yard Dawgs, located in The Woodlands, Texas, will join the Akron Racers, Chicago Bandits, Dallas Charge, Pennsylvania Rebellion and USSSA Florida Pride for the 2016 season. National Pro Fastpitch players hail from the U.S., Australia, Canada, Japan, the Netherlands and New Zealand, representing the most accomplished and talented athletes in the sport of women’s softball.