NASHVILLE, TN --- National Pro Fastpitch announced today the 2012 NPF Back to School Tour schedule that is set to launch in September. The Tour is sponsored in part by USSSA, with the support of Major League Baseball. The 2012 Tour marks the third consecutive year the NPF has placed a team made up of all-stars from all 4 NPF teams, on the road to compete in exhibition games against colleges across the U.S.
The 2012 Tour will make 21 stops across 16 states, and compete against 22 different schools in a 40 day span. The 22 university programs include 8 who were ranked in the Top 20, and 2 ranked in the Top 10, on the final USA Today/NFCA college softball poll. Those programs in the 2012 NPF Back to School Tour schedule are: Oklahoma (2), LSU (7), Louisiana Lafayette (12), Arizona (13), Washington (14), Michigan (15), Florida (18), and UCLA (20). In addition to the rankings, 14 of the 22 scheduled Tour teams qualified for the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
Over the two year history of the NPF Back to School Tour, the team of professional All-Stars has a 41-1 record, with the only loss coming at the hands of the University of Oklahoma on the Fall 2011 Tour. Oklahoma would go onto finish runner-up in the 2012 WCWS. This year Oklahoma will be the finale of the Tour, taking place on November 1.
Of the 22 Tour dates in 2012, 10 are former opponents, including a return to Tucson, Ariz., to square off against the perennial college softball power, Arizona. The Wildcats were one of many sold-out stops on the Inaugural 2010 Tour, filling their home Hillenbrand Stadium to its capacity of 3,000. Other return stops include Missouri State, Memphis, Central Arkansas, South Carolina, Washington, LSU, Florida, San Diego State, and Oklahoma.
The remaining dozen schools will be first timers on the NPF Back to School Tour. Among those, UCLA, the school with more NCAA Championships than any other college program in history, and Michigan, the 2005 WCWS Champion. The impressive list of newcomers also includes Baylor, Louisiana Lafayette, Mississippi State, Texas State, Maryland, Illinois State, Wisconsin, Marshall, Central Michigan, and South Carolina-Upstate.
“The Tour is one of my favorite events of the year for the NPF and this year’s schedule is super,” commented NPF Commissioner, Cheri Kempf. “The goal of this Tour is to continue to broaden the fan base for professional softball in a competitive environment and to let many of the college programs we play against, celebrate their former players that have gone onto become professionals. We are grateful for, and appreciative of the programs that are so willing to share in that mission with us, and take a crack at the professionals along the way.”
There are several stops that will also include player clinics as well as special location visits and VIP luncheons and dinners. At least five clinics will be offered for young players that are interested in learning from the pros.
The Tour will kick off in Springfield Missouri on September 23 against Missouri State. Over the next 40 days the players of the NPF will criss cross the nation on the 22 game schedule before finishing in Norman, Oklahoma on Nov. 1. For information regarding ticket purchases, clinic registrations, or appearance possibilities, contact the NPF League Office email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 615-232-2900.
|9/23||1:00pm||Missouri State||Springfield, Mo|
|9/27||6:30pm||Maryland||College Park, MD|
|9/30||4:00pm||Mississippi State||Batesville, MS|
|10/1||7:30pm||Central Arkansas||Conway, AR|
|10/4||6:00pm||Michigan||Ann Arbor, MI|
|10/5||3:00pm||Central Michigan||Mt. Pleasant, MI|
|10/7||6:00pm||Illinois State||Peoria, IL|
|10/11||7:00pm||South Carolina||Columbia, SC|
|10/12||6:00pm||South Carolina-Upstate||Spartanburg, SC|
|10/18||6:00pm||Texas State||San Marcos, TX|
|10/19||7:00pm||LSU||Baton Rouge, LA|
|10/26||7:00pm||San Diego State||San Diego, CA|
|1027||1:00pm||UCLA||Los Angeles, CA|
About National Pro Fastpitch:
National Pro Fastpitch is headquartered in Nashville, TN. 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 of Women’s Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Women’s Pro Softball League (WPSL). NPF is the Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball in the category of women’s fastpitch softball since 2002.