CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) League announced today that a new professional women’s fastpitch team, the Carolina Diamonds, has been franchised and will begin play in 2012. The team is based out of Charlotte, N.C.
“The league is certainly happy to be making this announcement,” said Cheri Kempf, Commissioner of the National Pro Fastpitch League. “We believe the Carolinas region is a very good area for expansion in the women’s professional fastpitch market for a number of reasons. Primarily, there is an audience there that understands and appreciates the game and has shown their support in the past. We are looking forward to returning the top level of competition the sport has to offer to current and future fastpitch fans in the Carolinas area.”
The Carolina Diamonds will be a woman owned and operated company. Owner, Amelia Nemeth and husband Alan Demaske will be involved with the day-to-day operations of the new Carolina NPF franchise.
“I am thrilled to be bringing professional softball to the Carolinas,” Nemeth said. “The excitement we hope to generate in the Carolinas is something both avid fans and the casual softball or baseball fans have been looking for. These ladies are fabulous athletes playing at the pinnacle of the game. It’s an honor to associate with the NPF, and have the opportunity to support women’s athletics.”
“As we were researching the possibility of ownership, we experienced the excitement of an NPF game last season. The athletes are superb on the field and inspiring to young girls both on and off the field. Our family is eager to share our NPF experience with families in the Carolinas.” stated Demaske. “There is a very large following in this area and we certainly hope to bring a winning program to the fans.”
The Carolina Diamonds will kick off their franchise as the NPF season opens in June of 2012. The team is slated to play its home schedule at various venues throughout the Carolinas during its inaugural year of competition. With the franchise agreement, the Carolina Diamonds also obtain rights to the NPF Diamonds player roster. The NPF Diamonds and the Tennessee Diamonds were a league operated team in 2010 and 2011. That inherited Diamonds roster includes former UNC All-American and ACC Player and Pitcher of the Year, Danielle Spaulding, and former UNC catcher with ACC honors, and North Carolina native, Brittany McKinney. The new team is currently working on contract renewals with NPF Diamonds players and should release player information soon.
North Carolina has played host to professional fastpitch before with the former Women’s Pro Fastpitch (WPF) League and the Women’s Pro Softball League (WPSL) locating teams in both Durham (Durham Dragons) and Gastonia, North Carolina through the seasons of 1997, 1998, and 1999.
“It is really exciting to have an NPF team back in the state of North Carolina! As a coach and a fan of fastpitch softball, I have watched many games when it was the WPF/WPSL and there was a team in Durham and Gastonia. The sport of fastpitch softball has grown in the state of North Carolina and I know there will be a great fan base. What a great opportunity for young developing players and families to come out and enjoy one of the best games there is,” commented Donna Papa, head coach of the UNC Tarheels softball team. “As a bonus, fans will be able to come out and see two players with North Carolina roots competing for the Diamonds, in pitcher Dani Spaulding and catcher Brittany McKinney. Both competed here at UNC and distinguished themselves within the conference and nationally.”
The Carolina Diamonds will replace the NPF Diamonds as the fourth member of National Pro Fastpitch. The league will not operate a team in 2012. “Although the total number of teams will not increase, the strength of the league will grow with four solid franchises in place, commented Kempf. “We are definitely moving in a positive direction.”
-Courtesy of the NPF