2004 NPF Season
LeagueNational Pro Fastpitch
Sportsoftball
DurationJune 1, 2004 - August 18, 2004
Number of teams6
2004 NPF Draft
Top draft pickIyhia McMichael
Mississippi State
Picked byAkron Racers
Regular Season
Regular Season ChampionsTexas Thunder
Cowles Cup
ChampionsNY/NJ Juggernaut
  Runners-upNew England Riptide
Finals MVPAmanda Scott
NY/NJ Juggernaut
NPF seasons
← 2003
2005 →

The 2004 National Pro Fastpitch season was the first season of professional softball under the name National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) for the only professional women's fastpitch softball league in the United States. From 1997 to 2002, NPF operated under the names Women's Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Women's Pro Softball League (WPSL). Each year, the playoff teams battle for the Cowles Cup.

Teams, cities and stadiums

Team City Stadium
Akron Racers Akron, Ohio Firestone Stadium[1]
Arizona Heat Tucson, Arizona Hi Corbett Field[2]
California Sunbirds Sacramento, California United Sports Complexes[3]
New England Riptide Lowell, Massachusetts Martin Softball Field[4]
NY/NJ Juggernaut Upper Montclair, New Jersey Montclair State University Softball Field[5]
Texas Thunder Houston, Texas University of Houston Cougars Softball Stadium[6]
National Pro Fastpitch teams

Milestones and events

The 2004 season was the culmination of years of work to relaunch the Women's Pro Softball League (WPSL) as a new league. In November 2002 the new name for WPSL - National Pro Fastpitch - was announced, along with a 2003 tour and league play beginning in 2004.[7]

NPF initially announced a league roster of teams in Akron, Ohio (Akron Racers), Denver, Colo.(Colorado Altitude),[8] Houston and San Antonio, Texas (Texas Thunder and San Antonio Armadillos), Sacramento, Calif. (California Sunbirds), Tucson, Ariz. (Arizona Heat),[9] Lowell, Mass. (New England Riptide), and Parsippany, NJ (NY/NJ Juggernaut).[10] The Racers were the only NPF team that also played in the WPSL. NPF conducted its first player drafts with these eight teams.

In March 2004, NPF released its inaugural schedule for 2004 and did not include the Armadillos and the Altitude. Reports allowed for the possibility of both teams joining the league in 2005 or later, but it never came to be.[11]

NPF officially launched its first season on June 1, 2004, with three games: the Akron Racers at the Texas Thunder, the Arizona Heat visiting the California Sunbirds, and the New England Riptide at the New York/New Jersey Juggernaut.[12]

Player acquisition

College draft

Further information: 2004 NPF Draft

NPF held tryouts and its first drafts at the 2003 National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Convention, at the Del Lago Resort, in Montgomery, Texas December 3–6, 2003.

On December 6 at the 2004 NPF Draft, the eight NPF teams selected players in a four-round Elite Draft and a six-round College Senior Draft. San Antonio selected Michigan State first baseman, and Indiana assistant coach Stacey Phillips with the first overall selection in the Elite Draft. In the College Senior Draft Iyhia McMichael of Mississippi State was selected first by the Akron Racers.[13][14]

After the decision was made to launch the 2004 season without the Colorado Altitude and San Antonio Armadillos, a Supplemental Draft was held to allocate players whose rights were held by Colorado and San Antonio.[15]

Notable transactions

The Juggernaut signed Michele Smith, a two-time Olympic gold medal pitcher (1996 and 2000), and five-time Japan Pro League MVP. The Racers brought on board Danielle Henderson, a member of the 2000 gold medal Olympic team.[12]

League standings

Source:[16]

Team GP W L Pct. GB
Texas Thunder 58 41 17 .707 -
Akron Racers 60 39 21 .650 3
NY/NJ Juggernaut 60 39 21 .650 3
New England Riptide 60 25 35 .417 17
Arizona Heat 60 19 41 .317 23
California Sunbirds 58 15 43 .259 26

NPF Championship

The 2004 NPF Championship Series was held at Firestone Stadium in Akron, Ohio August 25-9. The top four teams qualified and were seeded based on the final standings. The Racers won the tiebreaker over the Riptide based on winning the head-to-head season series 8-4. All series were planned to be best-of-three games, but that changed when rain cancelled the game 1 of the final on August 28. A single winner-take-all game was played on August 29.[17]

NPF Semifinals (Best of 3) NPF Championship (Single game)
      
1 Texas Thunder 1
4 New England Riptide 2
4 New England Riptide 1
3 NY/NJ Juggernaut 10
2 Akron Racers 1
3 NY/NJ Juggernaut 2
2004 NPF Semifinals
NY/NJ Juggernaut defeat Akron Racers 2–1
Game Date Score Series
(NYNJ–AK)
Location
1 August 25 NY/NJ Juggernaut 2, Akron Racers 0[18] 1–0 Akron, Ohio
2 August 26 NY/NJ Juggernaut 1, Akron Racers 3[19] 1–1 Akron, Ohio
3 August 26 NY/NJ Juggernaut 2, Akron Racers 1[20] 2–1 Akron, Ohio
2004 NPF Semifinals
New England Riptide defeat Texas Thunder 2–1
Game Date Score Series
(TEX–NE)
Location
1 August 25 Texas Thunder 4, New England Riptide 1[21] 1–0 Akron, Ohio
2 August 26 Texas Thunder 1, New England Riptide 3[22] 1–1 Akron, Ohio
3 August 27 Texas Thunder 0, New England Riptide3[23] 1-2 Akron, Ohio
2004 NPF Championship Game
Date Score Location
August 29 NY/NJ Juggernaut 10, New England Riptide 1[24] Akron, Ohio

Championship Game

Team Top Batter Stats.
NY/NJ Juggernaut Kellie Wilkerson 2-3 4RBIs HR 2B BB
New England Riptide Ashley Moore 1-4 RBI K
Team Pitcher IP H R ER BB SO AB BF
NY/NJ Juggernaut Amanda Scott (W) 5.0 4 1 1 3 4 20 23
NY/NJ Juggernaut Gina Oaks 1.0 2 0 0 1 0 5 6
NY/NJ Juggernaut Kaci Clark 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 3 3
New England Riptide Leigh Ann Ellis (L) 0.2 2 3 3 2 1 4 6
New England Riptide Jocelyn Forest 2.2 4 4 4 3 0 12 15
New England Riptide Megan Matthews 3.2 5 3 2 1 2 16 17
2004 NPF Championship Series MVP
Player Club Stats.
Amanda Scott NY/NJ Juggernaut 3-0 21Ks 0.73 ERA SH (19.0 IP)[25]

Annual awards

Source:[26]

Regular Season Champions
Texas Thunder
Award Player Team
Player of the Year Iyhia McMichael Akron Racers
NPF Batting Champion Iyhia McMichael Akron Racers
Pitcher of the Year Christa Williams Texas Thunder
Defensive Player of the Year Lindsay Gardner Texas Thunder
Manager of the Year Wayne Daigle Texas Thunder

NPF All-Star Teams

The 2004 NPF All-Star Series was held July 13 and 14 at Don E. Porter Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, OK. The East All-Star team included players from NY/NJ Juggernaut, the New England Riptide, and the Akron Racers and was managed by the Racers' Judy Martino. The West All-Star team included players from California Sunbirds, the Arizona Heat, and the Texas Thunder and was managed by the Thunder's Wayne Daigle.[27][28]

The USA Olympic softball team played a doubleheader against each NPF All-Star Team on July 13. The Olympians swept the games beating the East 5-0, and edging the West 5-3 in 9 innings.[29] The West All-Stars beat the East by a score of 1-0 on July 14. Nancy Evans was named the Most Valuable Player.[30]

2004 NPF ALL-STAR ROSTER - WEST TEAM
Player NPF Team Position
Wendy Allen[a] Arizona Heat 1B
Erica Beach Arizona Heat P
Cheryl Bolding Arizona Heat OF
Clare Burnum Texas Thunder 3B
Erin Evans Texas Thunder OF
Nancy Evans Arizona Heat 3B
Jaime Foutch California Sunbirds 3B
Lindsay Gardner Texas Thunder 2B
Peaches James Texas Thunder P
Julie Marshall California Sunbirds C
Lisha Ribellia Arizona Heat IF
Ryan Realmuto Texas Thunder C
Brandy Thurman[a] California Sunbirds IF
Christa Williams Texas Thunder P
Kristen Zaleski Texas Thunder OF
2004 NPF ALL-STAR ROSTER - EAST TEAM
Player NPF Team Position
Lindsey Collins-Miller NY/NJ Juggernaut C
Leigh Ann Ellis New England Riptide P
Jocelyn Forest New England Riptide P
Lyndsey Klein NY/NJ Juggernaut SS
Carri Leto NY/NJ Juggernaut 2B
Iyhia McMichael Akron Racers OF
Gina Oaks NY/NJ Juggernaut OF
Jaclyn Pasquerella NY/NJ Juggernaut 3B
Trena Peel Akron Racers OF
Jen Poore Akron Racers C
Amanda Scott NY/NJ Juggernaut P
Brandi Stuart Akron Racers 2B
Kellie Wilkerson NY/NJ Juggernaut 1B
Nicole Trimboli Akron Racers 1B

All-Star Game note

  1. ^ a b Brandy Thurman replaced Wendy Allen on the All-Star roster when Allen was unable to attend the game[31]

See also

References

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  2. ^ "Arizona Heat". profastpitch.com. Archived from the original on 7 August 2004. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  3. ^ "California Sunbirds". profastpitch.com. Archived from the original on 14 August 2004. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  4. ^ "New England Riptide". profastpitch.com. Archived from the original on 14 August 2004. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  5. ^ "New York/New Jersey Juggernaut". profastpitch.com. Archived from the original on 14 August 2004. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  6. ^ "Texas Thunder". profastpitch.com. Archived from the original on 14 August 2004. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  7. ^ "NEW NAME ANNOUNCED FOR WPSL". ProFastpitch.com. 1 November 2002. Archived from the original on 5 September 2015. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
  8. ^ "NPF Announces Colorado Franchise". Profastpitch.com. 1 July 2003. Archived from the original on 26 June 2015. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  9. ^ "National Pro Fastpitch Announces New Tucson Affiliate". profastpitch.com. 5 July 2003. Archived from the original on 26 June 2015. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  10. ^ "NATIONAL PRO FASTPITCH (NPF) HOLDS NATIONAL TRYOUT IN TEXAS". ProFastpitch.com. 11 December 2003. Archived from the original on 26 June 2015. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
  11. ^ "National Pro Fastpitch Introduces Six Teams; Inaugural Season League Play Launches in Early June". ProFastpitch.com. 21 March 2004. Archived from the original on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  12. ^ a b "PROFESSIONAL FASTPITCH BACK IN ACTION FOR 2004". Profastpitch.com. 1 June 2004. Archived from the original on 5 September 2015. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  13. ^ "NATIONAL PRO FASTPITCH (NPF) HOLDS NATIONAL TRYOUT IN TEXAS". profastpitch.com. 7 December 2003. Archived from the original on 26 June 2015. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  14. ^ "NPF Holds Draft for 2004". ProFastpitch.com. Archived from the original on 20 December 2003. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
  15. ^ "NPF HOLDS SUPPLEMENTAL DRAFT". ProFastpitch.com. 1 April 2004. Archived from the original on 5 September 2015. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
  16. ^ "2004". ProFastpitch.com. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
  17. ^ "National Pro Fastpitch Championship Game at Firestone Stadium Reformatted". OurSportsCentral.com. 29 August 2004. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
  18. ^ "Nauts Win Game One". OurSportsCentral.com. 25 August 2004. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
  19. ^ "Akron Races by Nauts 3-1 to Tie Up Series at One Apiece". OurSportsCentral.com. 26 August 2004. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
  20. ^ "The Scotts Lead the Juggernaut into the Finals". OurSportsCentral.com. 27 August 2004. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
  21. ^ "Thunder capture playoff opener". Houston Chronicle. 26 August 2004. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
  22. ^ "Grand slam beats Thunder in playoff". Houston Chronicle. 27 August 2004. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
  23. ^ "RIPTIDE STEALS THUNDER FROM TEXAS New England to Play Juggernaut in Championship". ProFastpitch.com. 27 August 2004. Archived from the original on 5 September 2015. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
  24. ^ "Juggernaut claims inaugural Cowles Cup". OurSportsCentral.com. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
  25. ^ "August 2004". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 2015-09-05. Retrieved 2020-07-03.
  26. ^ "NPF Hands Out Regular Season Awards". OurSportsCentral.com. 28 August 2004. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  27. ^ "28 players to represent league in NPF All-Star Series". OurSportsCentral.com. 6 July 2004. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  28. ^ "2004 NATIONAL PRO FASTPITCH ALL-STAR ROSTERS" (PDF). profastpitch.com. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 June 2015. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  29. ^ "NPF All-Stars Put on Good Display But Fall Short". OurSportsCentral.com. 14 July 2004. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  30. ^ "Bolding s Sacrifice Fly Sends the West to a 1-0 Win; Nancy Evans named the game s most valuable player". OurSportsCentral.com. 14 July 2004. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  31. ^ "California's Thurman Added to All-Star RosterReplaces Heat Infielder Wendy Allen". profastpitch.com. 11 July 2004. Archived from the original on 26 June 2015. Retrieved 13 June 2015.