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Diamonds have a shot at 2012 NPF crown


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#1
jlurban

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Feature article from The Softball Channel website, posted 8/16/12, 3:06 PM CDT:

Carolina Diamonds Have a Shot at NPF Title
Can Last Year's Worst Pro Team Finish First?

By TSC Contributor KEVIN KAGE

LOMBARD – I’m going to say something that two months ago would have gotten my blogger license revoked (and still might): the Carolina Diamonds could legitimately win the 2012 NPF title.

After setting the record for futility in 2011 with the worst regular season record in league history—and a 2-10 start this season—the Diamonds are showing signs of life. In their game last night against the defending champion Bandits in Chicago, it was clear one team is riding a wave of confidence right now—and no, it is not the Bandits. The Diamonds won the game 9-5.

The Diamonds currently lie third in the standings, two games ahead of the last-place Racers. And with just three games to go, all against an easier opponent in the Bandits than the Racers have in the Pride, they should end up that way. That means they will play Chicago in the first round of the playoffs—a series they can win. If they do, they will face the USSSA Pride for the title.

Here are six reasons why the “Cinderella” Diamonds could upset the heavily favored Pride in the finals:

1. The Diamonds have a psychological advantage as underdog.

2. The Diamonds are hungry for redemption after their humiliating 2011 season and 2012 start.

3. Even though the Pride has won the Cowles Cup twice in the past five years (in 2010, and in 2007 as the Washington Glory), the Diamonds have also won it recently (in 2009 as the Rockford Thunder).

4. The Pride’s superstar pitcher Cat Osterman is suffering from a nagging arm injury that could resurface at any time. Last year, her departure in the playoff finals cost the Pride the championship.

5. Even if Osterman goes the distance, the Diamonds finally have a pitcher in Katie Burkhart who can go toe-to-toe with her. Burkhart was Most Valuable Player of the Women’s College World Series and NPF Player of the Year in 2008, her rookie year. After several years of playing overseas and with the US National Team, Burkhart is now making an impressive comeback on the pro circuit.

6. The Diamonds showed a lot of spark in last year’s playoffs, nearly beating the Pride in an overtime barnburner.

The 2012 NPF Championship Series starts next week Thursday at the Bandits’ home stadium in Rosemont, Illinois. Take my word for it, a “Diamond in the Rough” may take home the roses this year!



#2
sballer4life

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The Pride must still be considered strong (almost prohibitive) favorites to win the NPF championship this year. Last week the Pride swept its four-game series with the Diamonds and the scores were fairly lopsided: 9-0, 8-0, 4-1 and 6-4.

#3
KCSoftball

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It comes down to Cat & Monica, and if Monica is hot for four games (as she can be) the Bandits can win again. But you're right, the Yankees, err Pride, have to be favored. B)

#4
SpartanIlliniCub

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If you look at Cat and Monica's numbers this season they are practically identical. Monica pitched a 14-3 record in 125 innings with 190 strikeouts (an NPF single season record, by the way) and a 1.06 ERA. Cat pitched for a 9-4 record in 95 innings with 131 strikeouts and a 0.72 ERA. Those are video game numbers.

With Cat and Monica evenly matched I think the championship will go to the team with the better offense, and I have to give that to the Pride. Therefore I pick the Pride to win the 2012 title.

#5
CatOsterFan

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Although the Diamonds really exceeded expectations in the regular season this year and entered the playoffs with a lot of momentum, they ended up getting crushed by the Bandits in a two-game sweep with final scores of 11-1 and 5-1. If the Diamonds can keep their team together (especially pitcher Katie Burkhart) they have a great shot at building on that momentum and having a great 2013 campaign.




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