Hoover, AL-August 20, 2015- Tuesday was a big night for the USSSA Florida Pride at the 2014 National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) Awards Banquet. In front of a sold out crowd at the event, three of the night’s biggest awards were taken home by Pride players as Andrea Duran was named the Mizuno Player of the Year, Cat Osterman was named the Diamond Sports Pitcher of the Year, and Madison Shipman was named the Miken Rookie of the Year. Additionally, rookie Breja’e Washington was honored as the top base stealer in the NPF and veterans Caitlin Lowe and Natasha Watley were named to the All NPF Team as outfielders. Lowe and Watley joined Duran (third base), Osterman (pitcher), and Shipman (at-large) on the 2014 All NPF Team.
Duran had a solid season both offensively and defensively. Throughout the year, Duran’s batting average hovered around .400 while her 27 walks and .478 on-base percentage were tops in the NPF. Duran ranked in the top seven in seven offensive categories. The Olympian and former UCLA Bruin played a solid third base for the Pride defense as she committed only 7 errors in 123 chances. Duran joins teammate Caitlin Lowe as the only other Pride player to win Player of the Year honors.
“In a league like the NPF with so many great players it’s hard to expect to win an award like Player of the Year, so I was very shocked when my name was called. There were so many players worthy of the award this year, including several of my teammates. I am very grateful for the award but now it’s time to focus on the championship. That’s the prize I want,” said Duran on winning Player of the Year.
During the 2014 regular season, Cat Osterman had arguably the most dominant pitching performance in NPF history. The two-time Olympian was 16-0 on the season and led the NPF in wins (16), ERA (0.56), and strikeouts (160). She only allowed eight earned runs in the 100 innings she threw this season. This is Osterman’s second consecutive Pitcher of the Year award and third award overall, she shared the 2011 award with Monica Abbott.
“I’m honored and thrilled to have had the season I had. I’d never dreamt of throwing as well as I have this year. On top of that I have some of the best defensive players behind me, especially Madison and Dre [Duran]. Dre had an incredible year on both sides. It’s fun to watch and be a part of,” said Osterman.
Rookie Madison Shipman was named the 2014 Rookie of the Year after a stellar first season with the Pride. Shipman added to her storybook 2014 which includes being named the SEC Player of the Year, the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award Winner, and the Honda Sports Award winner for softball. Shipman led all rookies in RBIs, doubles, and on-base percentage. She also ranked second amongst rookies in batting average, runs, stolen bases, walks, and slugging percentage. Shipman joins teammate Kristyn Sandberg as a previous Rookie of the Year award winner.
“I’m honored to win Rookie of the Year especially since there were so many great rookies in the league this year. I’m looking forward to the games this week and my future playing in the NPF,” said Shipman after winning her award Tuesday night.
Breja’e Washington was named the Diamond Spikes Award Winner, presented by Ringor, after leading the league with 17 stolen bases. The all-time stolen base leader at the University of Texas swiped four more bases than the next highest player. Washington joins teammates Caitlin Lowe (2013), Sharonda McDonald (2012), and Natasha Watley (2011) as previous winners.
Natasha Watley finished 2014 as the NPF batting average champion with her .403 average. After being named to the All NPF Team as a shortstop the past three seasons, Watley’s shift to the outfield this year definitely didn’t slow her down. Fellow outfielder Caitlin Lowe was named to her third All NPF Team after posting the fifth highest batting average in the NPF. The steady center fielder did not commit an error in 2014.
Nerissa Myers of the Akron Racers was named the Offensive Player of the Year after leading the NPF in RBIs and slugging percentage and ranking second in homeruns. The Wilson Defensive Player of the Year award was handed out to Chicago Bandits shortstop Tammy Williams. Kelley Montalvo from the Akron Racers was named the Jennie Finch Award Winner which is awarded to the player who shows excellence in sportsmanship, leadership and humility both on and off the field.
The Pride hope to take home one more team award this season as playoff competition begins Wednesday, August 20th in Hoover, Alabama. The Pride will be squaring off against the fourth seeded Pennsylvania Rebellion at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. Game one will be televised live on CBS Sports Network as will all three games in the Championship Series Friday and Saturday.
2014 NPF Award Winners
2014 Regular Season Champions – USSSA Florida Pride
Coaching Staff of the Year presented by Schutt- Akron Racers
Catcher – Kristen Butler (CHI)
1B – Brittany Cervantes (CHI)
2B – Lauren Lappin (PA)
3B – Andrea Duran (FLA)
SS – Tammy Williams (CHI)
OF – Caitlin Lowe (FLA)
OF – Natasha Watley (FLA)
OF (tie)- Megan Wiggins (CHI)
OF (tie)- Emily Allard (CHI)
P – Cat Osterman (FLA)
P – Monica Abbott (CHI)
P – Rachele Fico (AKR)
P – Michelle Gascoigne (CHI)
At Large – Madison Shipman (FLA), Nerissa Meyers (AKR), Jill Barrett (AKR), Ashley Thomas (AKR), Kelley Montalvo (AKR), and Sarah Pauly (PA)
Ringor Diamond Spikes Award – Breja’e Washington (17 stolen bases, FLA)
Miken Rookie of the Year – Madison Shipman (FLA)
Worth Homerun trophy – Brittany Cervantes – 12 homeruns (CHI)
Louisville Slugger Offensive Player of Year – Nerissa Myers (AKR)
Wilson Defensive Player of the Year- Tammy Williams (CHI)
Jennie Finch Award Winner – Kelley Montalvo (AKR)
Diamond Sports Pitcher of the Year – Cat Osterman (FLA)
Mizuno Player of the Year – Andrea Duran (FLA)
About USSSA Florida Pride:
The USSSA Florida Pride is a professional franchise in the National Pro Fastpitch League that is owned and operated by USSSA. The amateur organization of USSSA has multi-sport coverage and encompasses teams and players from the United States and abroad.
National Pro Fastpitch is headquartered in Nashville, TN. 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.
The United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA), headquartered in Osceola County, Florida, USSSA is the World’s Largest Multi-sport Athletic Organization. Founded in 1968, USSSA has grown to over 3.7 million participants, competing in 13 nationally sanctioned sports including Baseball, Fastpitch, Slow Pitch, Karate, Basketball, Soccer and more! For more information on USSSA and to register your team visit USSSA.com. Also be sure to visit USSSAToday.com for the latest USSSA.