Kissimmee, FL-September 12, 2016-USSSA is pleased to announce that the 2016 Pride Fall Tour is back! This September, the USSSA Pride will be making their way northeast to get USSSA and the NPF back on the map during the off-season for a chance to promote the league in front of the biggest softball fans.
Six games will be played at four different universities including softball powerhouse Michigan, top 50-ranked programs Ohio State and Notre Dame plus the University of Dayton for the Great Lakes Tour that is set to begin next week, September 24th. The Fall Tour gives fans the opportunity to watch the best softball players in the world at their local universities while preparing the NCAA athletes for their upcoming season.
While on the tour, the Pride players will also help host USA Elite Select Regional Elite camps and Futures tryouts in addition to competing against the NCAA teams with a condensed Pride roster including of 2016 NPF Player of the Year Kelly Kretschman, NCAA home run leader Lauren Chamberlain, 2015 Rookie of the Year Shelby Pendley, NCAA Player of the Year Sierra Romero, back-to-back NCAA Champions and former Gators Kirsti Merritt and Kelsey Stewart, as well as former Wolverine Lauren Sweet, 2013 Offensive Player of the Year GiOnna DiSalvatore, former Oregon Duck Courtney Ceo, and former Arizona Wildcat Hallie Wilson. The main pitching staff during the Fall Tour will include All-NPF pitchers Jordan Taylor and Jolene Henderson and former WCWS Most Outstanding Pitcher Hannah Rogers.
Megan Willis and Jenn Gladding will be taking the role of coach during the two week tour as Lonni Alameda and Sam Ricketts are both preparing for the upcoming NCAA season at FSU and Mississippi State respectively. Willis just finished her first season as Pride Assistant Coach and was a part of the 2016 NPF Coaching Staff of the Year. Gladding joined the Pride coaching staff back in 2014 under Head Coach Gerry Glasco and currently works as the National Director of Futures Program.
The Great Lakes Tour kicks off on September 24th at Ohio State University. The Buckeyes will also be hosting the 16th Annual Ohio Collegiate Charity Classic that same day, an event that has become one of the largest fundraisers for Breast Cancer Awareness in central Ohio. Twenty different colleges will be participating in this year’s tournament with the Pride vs OSU opening match taking the spot of main event.
The following day, September 25th, the Pride will face the Dayton Flyers with first pitch starting time at 3pm at UD Softball Stadium for the second match-up of the Great Lakes Tour. Led by Head Coach Cara LaPlaca, the Dayton Flyers finished the 2016 season with a record of 27-21-1 giving the Flyers back-to-back seasons with a record above the .500 mark for the first time in program history.
The Pride will then head to South Bend, IN on September 27th for a match-up against Notre Dame in a familiar setting where the Pride hosted their last home game of the 2016 regular season Melissa Cook Stadium.
Following the game against Notre Dame, the Pride will be making their way back to Michigan for three games at Alumni Field. September 29th the Pride will play a double header against the Wolverines before ending the Great Lakes Tour on September 30th against the University of Toledo.
This will be the third time the Pride will be welcomed at Alumni Field and marks the return of former Wolverines Jordan Taylor, Lauren Sweet and Sierra Romero.
“I’m really excited to be going back to Ann Arbor and going back to the program that made me the player I am today. I’m looking forward to seeing my coaches and teammates and being back on beautiful Alumni Field,” commented Sierra Romero about the tour. “I think it’s great for the NPF to go out and play other colleges and help expand the sport even more. I love Michigan and I love that I get the chance to go back and play against my former teammates and coaches. It’ll be a great time.”
The Michigan program is led by the winningnest coach in NCAA softball history Carol Hutchins. The Wolverines finished the 2016 with a 52-7 record, taking a hard 1-0 loss at the Women’s College World Series against Florida State to end their WCWS campaign.
Later in October, the Pride will be touring the South for the second leg of the 2016 Fall Tour which will be announced at a later date.
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: The United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA), 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