Sept. 23, 2016
by Tony Jones
NOTRE DAME, Ind. ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” The stage is nearly set for the University of Notre Dame softball team’s inaugural professional home showing with National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) powerhouse the USSSA Pride on Sept. 27 at 7 p.m. (ET). Tuesday night’s game will be just the second time that a professional team will take the field at Melissa Cook Stadium, after the Pride and Akron Racers played an NPF regular season game on the home turf of the Irish on Aug. 10.
Tickets for the historic matchup remain on sale through Notre Dame’s Murnane Family Ticket Office at und.com/BuyTickets. Additional ticket information is available by calling (574) 631-7356.
The unique opportunity to face a professional team during the USSSA Pride Fall Tour, which will also take the three-time Cowles Cup champion to Ohio State, Dayton, Michigan and Toledo, is not lost on players from Notre Dame. Senior outfielder Karley Wester, a two-time National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-American and a USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Top 10 Finalist last season, sees the game as an opportunity to showcase both collegiate and professional softball.
“We are absolutely thrilled to play against some of the best there is in the sport and hope to create even more of a buzz around college and professional softball in the process,” Wester said.
Junior infielder Morgan Reed, a two-time NFCA All-Region selection and two-time all-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) choice at Notre Dame, sees a similar upside. Many of the Irish team members followed the college careers of the top stars in the NPF, while others have been both teammates and foes during the journey toward playing college softball and beyond.
“We have the opportunity to play against some of the best athletes in this sport and against some of the people that we looked up to growing up,” Reed said. “Who wouldn’t be super excited about that?”
Comparing the 2017 Notre Dame roster with that of the Pride’s fall personnel, both teams have a host of players that are currently, or were previously, among the best players in NCAA Division I softball. Here is the tale of the tape on key contributors and top accomplishments from players on both squads:
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (18 Straight NCAA Regional Appearances)
21 Karley Wester, Sr., OF ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” 2X NFCA All-America, 3X All-ACC, ’16 Nat’l POY Finalist
15 Kimmy Sullivan, Sr., IF/OF ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” 3X ACC Academic Tm, ’14 NFCA DI AA Scholar
6 Rachel Nasland, Sr., RHP ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” ’16 ACC All-Tourney, ’15 All-ACC, 2X ACC Academic Tm
13 Dana Bouquet, Sr., UTL ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” 3X ACC Academic Honor Roll
20 Morgan Reed, Jr., IF ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” 2X NFCA All-Region, 2X All-ACC
18 Bailey Bigler, Jr., OF ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” ’16 NFCA All-Region, ’15 ACC Academic Honor Roll
29 Katie Beriont, Jr., LHP ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” 2X ACC Academic Honor Roll
22 Sara White, Jr., IF/RHP ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” 2X ACC Academic Honor Roll
16 Caitlyn Brooks, So., RHP ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” ’16 NFCA All-Region
55 Melissa Rochford, So., IF ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” ’16 NFCA All-Region, ’16 ACC Academic Tm
37 Ali Wester, So., OF/IF ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” ’16 Nat’l FOY Finalist, ’16 NFCA All-Region, ’16 All-ACC
1 Maddie McCracken, So., C ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” ’16 ACC Academic Honor Roll
28 MK Bonamy, So., IF ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” NFCA HS All-America, NFCA HS All-America Scholar
44 Alexis Bazos, Fr., OF ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” Multi-time HS All-League and All-Section Choice
27 Katie Marino, Fr., IF ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” HS All-State Selection, N.J. Gatorade POY Nominee
9 Chelsea Purcell, Fr., IF ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” HS All-League Selection, ’11 ASA National Champion
8 Ellie Richards, Fr., IF/UTL ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” HS All-State and All-Conference Selection
7 Madison Heide, Fr., C ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” HS All-District and All-Region Selection
USSSA Pride (Three-Time Cowles Cup Champion, Four NPF POY Selections)
12 Kelly Kretschman, 11th Yr., OF ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” 2X NPF POY, 4X NFCA All-America (Alabama)
44 Lauren Chamberlain, 2nd Yr., IF ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” NCAA HR Champ, 4X NFCA All-America (OU)
32 Sierra Romero, 1st Yr., IF ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” 3X Big 10 POY, 4X NFCA All-Region (Michigan)
13 Hannah Rogers, 2nd Yr., RHP ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” 4X NFCA All-America, ’14 CWS MOP (Florida)
54 Jolene Henderson, 2nd Yr., RHP ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” 4X NFCA All-Region, 2X NFCA All-America (Cal)
2 Shelby Pendley, 2nd Yr., IF ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” 3X NFCA All-America, 4X All-Conference (OU/AZ)
17 Jordan Taylor, 5th Yr., RHP ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” 3X NFCA All-America, 3X All-Big Ten (Michigan)
22 Hallie Wilson, 2nd Yr., UTL ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” ’14 NFCA All-America, 3X NFCA All-Region (AZ)
3 GiOnna DiSalvatore, 6th Yr., IF ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” 3X NFCA All-America, 3X All-Pac 10 (UCLA)
6 Courtney Ceo, 3rd Yr., IF ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” ’14 NFCA All-America, 4X All-Pac 12 (Oregon)
For the latest news and updates on all things Notre Dame softball, visit www.und.com/softball, follow the Irish @NDsoftball and @NDcoachGumpf on Twitter and at Instagram.com/notredamesoftball, and Like the team at Facebook.com/NDSoftball.
Tony Jones, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2012 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame softball and men’s soccer programs. A native of Jamestown, New York, Jones is a 2011 graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and prior to arriving at Notre Dame held positions at the University of Louisiana Monroe and with the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills.