CORPUS CHRISTI - A four-game National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) softball series between the USSSA Pride and Akron Racers, presented by Ryan-Sanders Entertainment, is set for Thursday-Friday-Saturday June 14-15-16 at Whataburger Field.
Game times for the Hurricane Alley Waterpark Coastal Classic are 7 p.m., 7 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., respectively. Saturday's action features a twi-night doubleheader.
"This is a truly unique opportunity for fans to see Olympic gold medalists and world champions play softball at the highest level," Ryan-Sanders Entertainment executive vice president J.J. Gottsch said. "They are great role models on and off the field. Young girls in the Coastal Bend can see the best players in the world - in their own backyard.
"These games will raise the profile of softball to unprecedented levels in Corpus Christi."
The Pride, flagship club of the four-team NPF League, is led by four-time University of Texas All-American Cat Osterman, who thrice earned national collegiate player-of-the-year honors. Osterman went 38-4 for the Lady Longhorns and pitched them to three College World Series. The left-hander has earned six gold medals in international competition.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi assistant coach Sarah Pauly, recently inducted into the Islanders Hall of Fame, is another Pride pitcher. Pauly is one of five NCAA Division I hurlers to win 100 games, strike out 1,000 batters, maintain a sub-1.00 ERA and average double-digit strikeouts in a career (2002-05). Since 2006, she's been one of the most accomplished pitchers in NPF.
Former Stanford outfielder Jessica Mendoza, a member of the U.S. national team since 2001, is a seasoned international competitor with seven golds. In 2004, she earned Olympic gold in Athens. Two years later, Mendoza was inducted into the International Latin Sports Hall of Fame. In 2006, she captured another Olympic medal after helping the Americans garner silver in Beijing.
The Pride shortstop is former UCLA standout Natasha Watley, a four-time All-American, Olympic gold and silver medalist and College World Series champion.
Other notables on the roster include Megan Willis (catcher/Texas) and outfielder Francesca Enea (outfielder/Florida).
Additional sponsors for the Hurricane Alley Waterpark Coastal Classic are The Batter's Box and Brewster Street Ice House. Media partners are the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, K-99, NewsRadio 1360 KKTX and KRIS Communications.
Tickets go on sale Friday, March 30 at whataburgerfield.com, the Whataburger Field box office and by calling 361-561-HOOK (4665).
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The NPF series is one of two main planks in Corpus Christi's June softball project. The United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) conducts the Texas State Tournament June 14-17 at various sites throughout the region. In all, the events are expected to attract over 18,000 players, coaches, family members and fans for an estimated economic impact of over $5 million.
The USSSA tournament's goal is to bring 100 teams to the Coastal Bend. Players range from 7-18. These athletes compete during the day for the state championship and enjoy the city's attractions and professional softball at Whataburger Field during the evenings.
The winners of each division advance to compete at the USSSA World Series at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports facilities in Orlando.
See additional details at cccoastalclassic.com
USSSA is a volunteer, non-profit organization based in Kissimmee, Florida. USSSA governs 13 sports across the U.S., Puerto Rico, various U.S. Military bases and Canada and has a membership of over 3.7 million.
About National Pro Fastpitch
National Pro Fastpitch is headquartered in Nashville. The league, created to give elite female fastpitch players the opportunity to pursue a professional career in their chosen sport, has operated since 1997. NPF is the Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball in the category of women's fastpitch softball.
To learn more about National Pro Fastpitch, go to profastpitch.com
For additional information on the USSSA Pride, visit usssapride.com
Find out about the Akron Racers at akronracers.org
About Hooks Baseball/Ryan-Sanders Entertainment
Whataburger Field is utilized by Hooks Baseball - a division of Ryan-Sanders Baseball - for Texas League action and college and high school games. Ryan-Sanders Entertainment has presented these events at the venue:
- Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and Friends, John Mellencamp (8/2009)
- Top Rank Boxing seven-fight card with Jerry Belmontes and Brandon Rios (10/2009)
- Houston Dynamo vs. Laredo Heat exhibition soccer (6/2010)
- Los Lonely Boys postgame concert (7/2010)
- Lucha Libre Mexican wrestling (9/2010)
- Ziegfest 2010-2011 (10/2010; 10/2011)
- Houston Dynamo vs. FC Dallas exhibition soccer (2/2011)
- 2011 Hooks Summer Concert Series (Neal McCoy; Tonic; Asleep at the Wheel; Texas Tornados; Green River Ordinance)