Three softball seniors selected in 2011 NPF Draft
Three University of Florida softball seniors were drafted last week by the National Pro Fastpitch organization and are set to continue their softball careers following the conclusion of their senior year as members of the Gator softball team. UF left fielder Kelsey Bruder (Corona, Calif.), first baseman Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) and second baseman Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.) were all taken in the NPF’s five-round annual senior draft March 18.
The NPF and its four affiliate teams, the NPF Diamonds (Hermitage, Tenn.), Akron Racers (Akron, Ohio), USSSA Pride (Orlando, Fla.) and Chicago Bandits (Elgin, Illinois), held the 2011 NPF Senior Draft from the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla., home of the Orlando Magic.
“I’m really proud of Kelsey, Megan and Aja for being drafted to play in the NPF,” University of Florida head coach Tim Walton said.” It’s an honor for them to not only represent their families and the University of Florida, but it’s also a tremendous accomplishment for them to be able to play softball after college. We look forward to great things from the three of them the rest of this season and as they continue their softball careers as professionals.”
Both Bruder and Bush were taken in the second round as the fifth and sixth overall picks in the 2011 draft, Bruder to the USSSA Pride and Bush to the Akron Racers. Paculba’s name was called as the first pick in the fifth round to the NPF Diamonds as the 17th overall pick.
The three Gators will join 2010 senior Francesca Enea in the NPF, who was drafted ninth overall by the USSSA Pride in the 2010 Senior Draft last spring.
Walton - who coached the USSSA Pride last season - and Enea helped lead the Florida Pride to the 2010 NPF Championship title last August. The championship victory and NPF trophy was the first ever in Florida Pride history as Walton guided the Pride squad over the Chicago Bandits, winning 7-2 in a decisive game three setting in Sulphur, La.
Florida’s three 2011 seniors rank second (Bush), third (Paculba) and fourth (Bruder) on the squad this season in batting clip, while the trio has a combined 35 home runs, led by Bush’s 16, and 23 of UF’s 48 doubles, led by Paculba’s nine. The three Gators have the first, second and third-highest slugging percentages on the team, led by Bush’s 1.021, followed by Bruder (.794) and Paculba (.750). Bruder is additionally a perfect 7-for-7 in stolen bases. Under the senior leadership, Florida has jumped out to a 30-4 overall start this season, registering a program-record 24-0 start before its first loss. The 2011 senior class is a combined 212-24 (.899) overall and 80-9 (.899) in the Southeastern Conference to date.
“It has been another impressive draft year for the League,” NPF Commissioner Cheri Kempf said. “I say over and over again that the NPF is the ultimate challenge for a women’s fastpitch softball player. In light of that, I extend my sincere congratulations to each of the 20 women who have been selected in this year’s draft.”
The Southeastern Conference led collegiate softball with 10 overall athletes chosen. Due to NCAA regulations, an active college senior-athlete is not eligible to sign with her respective franchise until her 2011 season is complete. The NPF schedule runs from June until August.
2011 NPF Senior Draft Results
1 (1) NPF Diamonds - Kelsi Dunne
2 (2) Akron Racers - Taylor Schlopy
3 (3) USSSA Pride - Jenn Salling
4 (4) Chicago Bandits - Dorian Shaw
1 (5) USSSA Pride (2011 Trade with Diamonds) - Kelsey Bruder
2 (6) Akron Racers - Megan Bush
3 (7) NPF Diamonds (2011 Trade with Pride) - Morgan Melloh
4 (8) Chicago Bandits - Megan Wiggins
1 (9) NPF Diamonds - Megan Yocke
2 (10) Akron Racers - Toni Paisley
3 (11) USSSA Pride - Jordan Taylor
4 (12) Chicago Bandits - Alisa Goler
1 (13) NPF Diamonds - Whitney Larsen
2 (14) Akron Racers - Morgan Childres
3 (15) NPF Diamonds (Draft Day Trade with Pride) - Brittany Hile
4 (16) Chicago Bandits - Kristin Shifflet
1 (17) NPF Diamonds - Aja Paculba
2 (18) Akron Racers (Draft Day Trade with Pride) - Kelly Grieve
3 (19) NPF Diamonds - Rhiannon Kliesing
4 (20) Chicago Bandits - Kara Nelson
About National Pro Fastpitch:
National Pro Fastpitch is headquartered in Nashville, TN. The League, created to give elite female fastpitch players the opportunity to pursue a professional career in their chosen sport, has operated since 1997 under the names of Women’s Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Women’s Pro Softball League (WPSL).
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