July 26, 2016
by Tony Jones
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - A National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) softball showdown between the Akron Racers and the first place USSSA Pride will officially be held on the University of Notre Dame campus later this summer. The Racers and Pride collide in the inaugural NPF game at Notre Dame on Aug. 10 at 7 p.m. (ET) inside Melissa Cook Stadium, home of the nationally ranked Irish softball program.
The game will serve as a home game for the USSSA Pride, based out of the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Kissimmee, Florida. The Pride have embarked on a college tour of top NCAA softball venues throughout the 2016 season, hosting games at Mississippi State's Nusz Park (Starkville, Mississippi), Auburn's Jane B. Moore Field (Auburn, Alabama), Michigan's Alumni Field (Ann Arbor, Michigan) and Florida State's JoAnne Graf Field (Tallahassee, Florida) this summer before arriving at Melissa Cook Stadium in August.
Tickets are available for $10, and can also be purchased in groups of 15 for $125. Contact 317-875-8833 for additional ticket information.
Former Notre Dame and BIG EAST Conference pitching great Laura Winter ('14) is set to make her return to Melissa Cook Stadium during her second season in Ohio as a member of the Akron NPF franchise. Winter, whose 43 career wins, 33 complete games and 331 strikeouts remain Melissa Cook Stadium records, has posted a team-best 2.67 ERA in 15 appearances (one start) for the Racers as of July 26. The 2012 BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year and 2013 BIG EAST Player of the Year, Winter is 1-1 with one save, striking out 22 batters in 39.1 innings pitched in 2016.
Other former regional NCAA softball stars scheduled to take part in the Aug. 10 matchup include Michigan's Sierra Romero, Lauren Sweet and Jordan Taylor of the USSSA Pride, and Ball State's Jennifer Gilbert. Former Alabama All-American Kelly Kretschman, the reigning NPF Player of the Year, leads the way for the Pride as the league's top hitter in seven major offensive categories as of July 26.
For more information on the NPF's first trip to Melissa Cook Stadium, contact Lorenzo Walker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the latest news and updates on all things Notre Dame softball, visit www.und.com/softball, follow the Irish @NDsoftball and @NDcoachGumpf on Twitter and at Instagram.com/notredamesoftball, and Like the team at Facebook.com/NDSoftball.
Tony Jones, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2012 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame softball and men's soccer programs. A native of Jamestown, New York, Jones is a 2011 graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and prior to arriving at Notre Dame held positions at the University of Louisiana Monroe and with the National Football League's Buffalo Bills.