NASHVILLE, TN - National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) League Commissioner Cheri Kempf announced today theschedule for the upcoming 2011 Season.
Four Teams will again compete in the 2011 Season; Akron Racers, Chicago Bandits, NPF Diamonds, and USSSA Florida Pride. Each team in the League will play a 40-game regular season schedule with all teams playing 5 home and 5 away series.
The 2011 season will begin on Thursday, June 9th with the defending 2010 Cowles Cup Champions, USSSA Florida Pride, taking on the defending 2010 Regular Season Champions, Chicago Bandits, as a rematch to the 2010 Championship Series Game. The NPF Diamonds will travel to Akron, OH to play the Racers in the other season opening series. The regular season will finish on August 14th prior to the NPF Championship Series, which begins on August 18th.
The Chicago Bandits, the defending 3-peat Champions of the Regular Season Ringor Cup, will open 2011 NPF action in a brand new, six million dollar stadium in Rosemont, IL. “With consistency, passion, and a new home (Rosemont), we hope to continue our winning ways,” Chicago Bandits Owner Bill Sokolis. “We are really proud of the back to back to back regular season championships. We take the regular season pretty serious; in any sport, at any level to repeat as many times as we have is tremendous.”
The USSSA Florida Pride will combine a couple of locations into their home venues this year hosting home series’ at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports as well as Osceola County Stadium, the Spring Training home of the Houston Astros. “Venues such as these are MLB approved stadiums and are well suited to professional fastpitch softball, both the players and our fans deserve the best we have to offer. We look forward to a very successful and competitive season. We are proud of what the Pride accomplished last season and look forward to defending our 2010 NPF Cowles Cup in 2011,” stated Don DeDonatis General Manager of the Pride.
The Akron Racers will also be showcasing new stadium features in 2011 as they add an addition to Firestone Stadium in the form of a Players Plaza providing an expanded entrance to the Stadium, a Clubhouse, and batting cages. “We are very excited about our 2011 Firestone Stadium enhancements. The Players Plaza, Arc Clubhouse and outdoor batting cages will honor, serve, and invite more fastpitch fans to our historic facility,” stated Joey Arrietta, GM of the Akron Racers.
The NPF will add an exciting new element this year in regular season play as one team is committed entirely to off-site venues. The NPF Diamonds will play each of their 5 home series at a separate and unique venue, enabling the NPF to share League action with fans in cities where franchises do not currently exist. “The NPF Diamonds will fill a void in America for many fastpitch softball fans who do not currently have a franchise in their area. This is a concept we have discussed for the last couple of years. Once we experienced the excitement of fastpitch softball fans throughout the 20 stops of the NPF/USSSA Back to School Tour, we knew we had to make it happen in 2011,” stated Commissioner Kempf.
The National Pro Fastpitch League streamed over 80 games on MLB.com in 2010. Live streaming action will again be available in 2011. The regular season standings will crown the Ringor Cup Champions. All four teams will play in the NPF Championship Series. NPF Championship Series plans are currently being finalized and details will be announced shortly. Dates for the 2011 Championship Series are August 18th-21st. Additional information on each team's schedule can be found by navigating to www.profastpitch.comor individual team sites.