March 10, 2017 - National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) - Akron Racers
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - National Pro Fastpitch announced today the 2017 Championship Series will be held at Tiger Park in Baton Rouge, LA and will take place August 17-20. Tiger Park is the home field of the LSU softball team and is a popular NCAA venue for its design and fan friendly atmosphere.
The announcement is currently for the 2017 season and is a relationship that joins NPF with LSU Athletics, Visit Baton Rouge, and the Baton Rouge Area Sports Foundation.
Tiger Park has been one of the most well attended venues in collegiate softball each of the last two seasons during LSU's run to the Women's College World Series. In 2016 over 75,000 fans, an average of 1,877 per game, packed the park to see LSU play over the course of the season which was second in the country. The year before that, LSU had the third-most attended venue in softball, averaging 1,652 fans and 56,000-plus over the course of the season attending games.
"This is always an exciting announcement for us and the possibility of bringing the NPF Championship Series to Tiger Park on the campus of LSU ramped up that excitement from the initial contact," commented NPF Commissioner, Cheri Kempf. "Tiger Park is a gorgeous venue that puts fans practically right in the action with its intimate design. I know our players and fans will thoroughly enjoy this Championship experience."
The NPF Championship has been held in five different locations since the league taking over complete operations of the Series in 2010. The 2010 and 2011 Series' were held in Sulphur, LA; 2012 and 2013 Series' in Rosemont, IL; 2014 and 2015 Series' were held in Hoover, AL; and the most recent 2016 Series was held in Tuscaloosa, AL. The 2016 Tuscaloosa Series saw both single day attendance and overall attendance records broken, in spite of weather delays.
A prime addition to the NPF Championship Series began in 2016 when NPF added the Select 30 All American National Camp. This invitation-only event features the nation's top 100 players in six different age categories, all assembling for skill testing, instruction and exhibition games. The Select 30 event coincides with the Championship Series and allows the 600 participants to see professional fastpitch softball at its finest as well as visit the home of one of the most recognized NCAA programs in the nation.
"Top college venues continue to be attractive as NPF Championship Series hosts, due to their accessibility, spectacular atmospheres, complete functionality as athletic facilities and dedicated fastpitch softball fan bases," said Kempf. "In addition, the USA Elite Select Event that we are thrilled to host alongside the Championship Series will expose the nation's top amateur softball players to the city of Baton Rouge, the campus of LSU, and the sheer beauty that is Tiger Park."
LSU's Tiger Park has been the home to many NCAA Regional and Super Regional events, with over 30 postseason games being held in the venue. Since 1998, LSU has hosted nine NCAA regional tournaments and one super regional in Baton Rouge as postseason games are routinely televised nationally.
In addition, a host of LSU softball players have been a part of National Pro Fastpitch in its history, as last April three former Tigers were drafted in Bianka Bell, Kellsi Kloss and Sandra Simmons. The league features former Tiger and the first female winner of the Rawlings Gold Glove Award in A.J. Andrews, while in back-to-back seasons an LSU player was selected No. 1 overall as in 2012 Brittany Mack was selected first by the USSSA Pride and Rachele Fico was selected No. 1 by the Akron Racers.
Of the field of five affiliate NPF teams, only four qualify for the Championship Series. The top four finishers in regular season competition standings will make their way to Baton Rouge in August. Last year's champion, Chicago Bandits, captured the title for the fourth time in their thirteen-year history accomplishing back to back title wins in 2015 and 2016.
Additional ancillary event details, including the NPF 2017 Awards Banquet, will continue to be announced. Tickets are set to go on sale April 1.