On a rainy Friday night in Akron, National Pro Fastpitch 
(NPF) announced the recipients of the regular season awards, including 
league player of the year. 

The big award winner on the night was Iyhia McMichael from the Akron 
Racers. McMichael, who played college ball at Mississippi State 
University, won both the 2004 NPF Batting Championship and the 2004 NPF 
Player of the Year Award. 

During the regular season, McMichael posted a batting average of .349, an 
on-base percentage of .443 and a slugging percentage of .430. The number 
one pick in the 2004 NPF Senior Draft tied for third in the league with 
four homeruns and was seventh in the league with 17 runs batted in. 

The remaining three awards on the night went to members from the Texas 
Thunder. Manager Wayne Daigle was the recipient of the 2004 NPF Manager of 
the Year Award. The award was his fourth coach of the year award in his 
career, as he was named Big 8 Coach of the Year on three separate 

The other winners from the Thunder were pitcher Christa Williams and second 
baseman Lindsay Gardner. Williams took home the leagues Pitcher of the 
Year award after leading the league with a 0.68 earned run average in 
better than 142 innings pitched on the season. Williams was second in the 
league with 14 wins, trailing Amanda Scott of the Juggernaut, and was fifth 
in strikeouts with 132. Gardner claimed the 2004 Defensive Player of the 
Year Award after a stellar season on the diamond. She finished the regular 
season with a .964 fielding percentage, 115 put outs and 101 assists. The 
University of Texas graduates helped lead the Thunder to a first place 
finish in the regular season with a record of 41-17. 

In addition to the five regular season awards, the Cowles Cup will be 
awarded to the Championship team following the final game of the 
Championship series. The Cowles Cup was named in honor of the Cowles 
Family, founders of National Pro Fastpitch. The Cowles family began the 
dream of a professional softball league after daughter Jane presented the 
idea to them back in the 1980s. The Cowles Cup is a beautiful crystal bowl 
set atop a two-tiered cherry wood base. It will travel to the home of the 
winning team each year. 

NPF, the world’s premier professional fastpitch softball league for women, 
consists of six teams located throughout the United States and features 
former USA Softball Women’s National Team members, collegiate All-Americans 
and all-conference selections. The 2004 season has featured the inaugural 
NPF All-Star Game, the first-ever NPF Championship Semifinal and the first 
NPF Championship Series. 

National Pro Fastpitch is headquartered in Denver, and has been in 
operation since 1997 under the names Women’s Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and 
Women’s Pro Softball League (WPSL). 

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