National Pro Fastpitch announced its awards for the 2006 season in conjunction with the start of the league playoffs.
The following athletes and coaches have been honored: Player of the Year, Lyndsey Angus; Pitcher of the Year, Sarah Pauly; Offensive Player of the Year, Jessica Merchant; Defensive Player of the Year, Carri Leto; Rookie of the Year, Stacy May; and Co-Managers of the Year, Eugene Lenti & Mickey Dean.
New England Riptide first baseman Lyndsey Angus was named the Majestic Athletic 2006 Player of the Year. Angus is a three-year Riptide veteran in the NPF, earning All-Star honors in the 2005 season. In her rookie campaign, Angus played a vital role for the Riptide, committing only one error on the season. This season, Angus posted great numbers at the plate, hitting .345 with a .452 on-base percentage and a .531 slugging percentage. She slugged 13 extra-base hits, earned 16 walks, and struck out only 9 times in 131 plate appearances. Her play in the field was equally impressive, as she once again committed only one error on the season. Angus is a graduate of the University of Kentucky.
Connecticut Brakettes right-hander Sarah Pauly earned the Diamond Sports 2006 Pitcher of the Year honors. Pauly played for the Brakettes in the 2005 season, compiling a 24-8 record with 315 strikeouts in 216 innings. In the Brakettes inaugural season in the NPF, Pauly once again proved to be the go-to pitcher in the circle for Connecticut. Pauly posted a 15-5 record with the top ERA in the NPF (1.24), striking out 138 batters in 143 innings pitched. She issued only 36 walks and rendered only three home runs on the year. Pauly is a graduate of Texas A&M – Corpus Christi.
Connecticut Brakettes shortstop Jessica Merchant slugged her way to 2006 Offensive Player of the Year honors and the Nokona American Glove award. Merchant is in her second season with National Pro Fastpitch; she was a 2005 first round draft pick for New England Riptide. In her rookie campaign, she posted a .254 batting average with 3 homeruns and 18 RBIs. This season saw marked improvement for Merchant, as she improved drastically in nearly every offensive category. Merchant hit .354 on the year, with a .434 on-base percentage and .531 slugging percentage. She notched 31 RBIs and led the NPF in homeruns with 12. Merchant is a graduate of the University of Michigan.
Philadelphia Force second baseman Carri Leto was presented with the Nokona American Glove Award as the 2006 Defensive Player of the Year. Leto made her debut in National Pro Fastpitch in 2004, earning All-Star awards as she led the team to an NPF Championship Title. In 2005, she again was honored as an NPF All-Star, as she led the Nauts to the playoffs. The 2006 season was no different for Leto, as she once again served as the backbone of the infield for her team. She boasted a .970 fielding percentage for NPF expansion team, Philadelphia Force, committing only six errors on 198 chances. Leto is a graduate of Northwestern University.
Chicago Bandits third baseman Stacy May was awarded with the Nokona American Glove Award as the 2006 Rookie of the Year. May entered NPF play fresh off her career at the University of Iowa, in which she earned All-Big Ten honors twice, in addition to Big Ten Freshman of the Year. May continued her stellar play from college right into her rookie campaign for the Bandits, batting .305 with a .411 slugging percentage. May slugged eight extra-base hits, including seven doubles and swiped eight bases on the year, in addition to committing only two errors in the field. May is a graduate of the University of Iowa.
The Chicago Bandits coaching staff, Mickey Dean and Eugene Lenti, were named the Diamond Sports 2006 Co-Managers of the Year. The duo has once again proven to be a valuable component to the Bandits organization, compiling a 30-12 record (.714) and winning the NPF regular season for the second consecutive year. In addition to their coaching duties with the Bandits, Dean has been a member of the coaching staff of the Venezuelan National softball team since 2002 and Lenti has been the Head Coach of DePaul University’s softball team for over 25 years.
The Majestic Cup was awarded to Bill Conroy and the Chicago Bandits for their stellar performance and first place finish during the regular season. The Bandits finished the season with 30 wins, 12 losses and a 71.4 winning percentage.
National Pro Fastpitch president Pat Linden also recognized all NPF players, staff, owners and sponsors for a great season and for their contribution to the development and growth of National Pro Fastpitch and to NPF fans for their continued support.
Sponsors of this year's awards include Nokona, official bat and glove of NPF, Majestic Athletic, official supplier of authentic NPF team uniforms, training apparel, and replica sportswear and Diamond Sports, official ball of NPF. THE GAME, the official headwear supplier of NPF, sponsored the Championship MVP trophy which will be awarded following the Championship game on Sunday, August 27th.
National Pro Fastpitch is headquartered in Denver, Colorado. 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 Women’s Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Women’s Pro Softball League (WPSL).