Cat & Pride Repeat as 2014 NPF Champs

This Year's Pride as Dominant as any Team in NPF History

By TSC Analyst/Contributor DANIEL URBAN & TSC Contributor NINA LIVAS   

HOOVER – The USSSA Pride are the winners of the 2014 NPF Cowles Cup, defeating the Akron Racers 8-3 in Game #2 of the NPF Championship Final Series to take home their second consecutive NPF title.

But it wasn't easy!  The Racers got out an early 2-0 lead after Akron Designated Player Jessica Garcia hit a two-run homer off of Pride starting pitcher Keilani Ricketts.  Ricketts was quickly replaced by veteran Danielle Lawrie.  Lisa Norris pitched for the Racers and put up five very strong innings before the wheels came off.

In the top of the 6th inning the score was tied 2-2 and everyone in attendance was expecting an extra-innings showdown like the night before.  But the Pride offense got moving in the 6th with a solo home run by Bridgette Del Ponte.  The homer was followed by a hit by Natasha Watley, then a reach on error by Caitlin Lowe.  Norris intentionally walked Madison Shipman, and with the bases loaded the rout was about to begin.

The Pride got 3 hits in a row from Andrea Duran, GiOnna DiSalvatore, and Kelly Kretschman, and scored 5 runs.  Pinch runner Sharonda McDonald scored on a sacrifice fly by Amanda Kamekona to complete the Pride's 7-hit 6-run inning.  The Racers never recovered, and the Pride went on to win the championship.

Danielle Lawrie picked up the win in relief with a 1-run and 3-hit performance over 6 innings.  Cat Osterman was named MVP of the Championship Series for the second year in a row. 

The 2014 version of the Pride were as thoroughly dominant as any team in the history of the NPF.  From top to bottom and from offense to defense the USSSA Pride were made to win the title.  And they produced!  In 48 games in 2014 the Pride scored 223 runs and only allowed 117.  The Pride average score was 4.64 runs to 2.44 runs.  No other team came close to equaling those numbers.

In 2014 Osterman pitched 100 innings and a 16-0 record with 160 strikeouts, a 0.560 ERA and 1.6 strikeouts per inning.  On average Cat recorded more outs through her strikeouts then her entire defense!  And Cat only allowed 8 earned runs all season.  On average she let in less than 1 earned run every 10 innings.  Insane!

The offense was led by slugger Amanda Kamekona who smashed 8 home runs and placed 3rd on the team with 26 RBI.

The Pride also benefited greatly from veteran Natasha Watley.  In 2014 Watley led the team in batting average with .403 and added 48 hits, a .458 on-base percentage, 26 runs and 6 RBI.  Veteran Andrea Duran also deserves mention with a .362 average, 2 home runs, 26 RBI, 47 hits, and a .478 on base percentage.

Between Cat Osterman shutting down opposing offenses and a slew of productive veteran hitters, the Pride were an indomitable force that did exactly what they were built to do: win a title. Read more.