(We made a list. We checked it twice. From now until New Year’s Eve, we are counting down the top ten headlines of 2019. Today, we look at #9 on our list.)
9. USSSA Pride leave National Pro Fastpitch
The USSSA Pride have long been the backbone of the National Pro Fastpitch. Narrowly the league’s most successful team, the Pride boast five league titles to the Chicago Bandits’ four. The nation’s most prominent professional offering, the league has remained fledgling for several years, but survived in no small part thanks to the efforts of USSSA.
Based in Florida, but often playing even “home” games in venues across the country, the Pride historically stacked their roster with some of the game’s top names. NCAA home run queen Lauren Chamberlain spent the entirety of her professional career with the organization, while other former college greats like Sierra Romero; Jolene Henderson; and Jessie Warren dot the team’s active roster.
Fresh off of their fifth league championship in August, the Pride announced in September that they would depart the league at the end of the calendar year. “Today, USSSA provided notice to the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) league that USSSA will not be renewing its partnership with the organization in 2020,” read, in part, a statement dated September 13th.
While the team’s departure from the league carries a 2-year non-compete clause as far as competing in a similar league, the franchise may follow the path of the Scrap Yard Dawgs, who departed the NPF last year and played something resembling a barnstorming circuit this summer.
The team’s departure left the NPF with five participating teams, including three franchises that operate through partnerships with national teams. The league added a sixth team, called the California Commotion, later in the fall.