Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Softball: OU Seniors Chosen in NPF Draft

All four seniors from the No. 1 University of Oklahoma softball team were selected Monday night in the 2013 National Pro Fastpitch College Draft, held at the Ford Theatre inside the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

The selections of Keilani Ricketts, Jessica Shults, Michelle Gascoigne and Brianna Turang were a school record, topping the three Sooners that were chosen in 2008. No school had as many draftees as OU on Monday night as Tennessee and Missouri were the only programs to have more than one player chosen.

All four players were chosen within the first nine selections, highlighted by pitcher Ricketts, who was drafted by the USSSA Florida Pride with the fourth overall pick. Ricketts' selection is the second highest for a Sooner, bested only by DJ Mathis being chosen second overall in 2009 by the Akron Racers.

One selection after Ricketts, with the first pick of round two, the USSSA Pride selected her battery mate, Shults, with the fifth overall selection.

"That's what we talked about, we watched the World Series last year and that was our dream to get both of them," USSSA Pride General Manager Don DeDonatis said on the web stream of the draft. "They're the two girls we wanted to land. They're awesome on the field and just as good for us off the field."

"It's worked well for us with Cat Osterman and Megan Willis over the last three years, so maybe we'll start another trend with the new crew."

Gascoigne was the third Oklahoma player selected overall when the Chicago Bandits chose her with the seventh overall pick and third of the second round.

Turang became the first outfielder selected when she was tabbed by the Akron Racers with the first pick of round three, ninth overall.

Oklahoma has now had 18 players drafted to the NPF league since its inaugural draft prior to the 2004 season.

The 2013 draftees join Sooner alums Amber Flores, Samantha Ricketts, D.J. Mathis, Savannah Long, Susan Ogden, Lauren Eckermann, Norrelle Dickson, Heather Scaglione, Kami Keiter, Christina Enea, Erin Evans, Christy Ring, Leah Gulla and Kristin Vesely who were all drafted by the league.

The NPF College Draft featured five rounds of four selections for a total of 20 overall draftees in the 2013 rookie class. Drafting an athlete gives an NPF affiliate team rights to that athlete for two full seasons.

Due to NCAA regulations, an active college senior-athlete may not sign with her respective franchise until their 2013 college season is over.

National Pro Fastpitch is headquartered in Nashville, Tenn. 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). NPF is the Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball in the category of women's fastpitch softball since 2002.

/// SoonerSports PR
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