Cortni Emanuel and Brittany Gray, two stars on the Georgia softball team, were drafted into the National Professional Fastpitch league Monday night.
National Professional Fastpitch, a fastpitch softball league founded in 2004, added two Georgia softball players to their ranks Monday night. The Beijing Eagles selected Brittany Gray in the third round with the no. 14 overall pick. And the USSSA Pride drafted Cortni Emanuel in the fourth round with the no. 23 and final pick overall.
The NPF has five teams currently, but only two teams have permanent homes; The Chicago Bandits and the USSSA Pride (Viera, Florida) The other three teams; the Beijing Eagles, Aussie Spirit and the Cleveland Comets travel year-round. Two teams, including the defending league champions left the league after last season. The Spirit are playing their first season.
The Eagles, owned by the Chinese Softball Association, is made of players on the Chinese National Team and was formed for softball’s return to the Olympics in 2020. But they do have a few American players. They used their third pick on Gray, Georgia’s top pitcher whose season ended two weeks ago thanks to an injury. In the first round they picked pitcher Allie Walljasper from LSU.
Emanuel’s team, the USSSA Pride, are of course ran by the United States Specialty Sports Association. The USSSA is the largest multi-sport governing body in the world and hold national tournaments for several sports.
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The Pride were formed in 2009 and are the NPF’s most successful team with six regular season championships and three Cowles Cup Championships. They have an all-time record of 283-130. So Emanuel joins the elite professional softball team in the world.
Gray is one of the best and most efficient pitchers in Georgia softball history. She’s started games since her freshman year in 2015 and has a career ERA below 3.00. Gray had a 16-1 record this season before her injury. She had struck out 134 batters while only allowing seven earned runs and a batting average of .132 and a .62 ERA.
Gray is one of the best pitchers and Emanuel is one of the best offensive players to every wear the red and black. I say offensive players because she produced with a quick bat and even quicker base running. She’s started her whole careers and her batting average has stayed above .400 the entire time. She;s currently hitting .433. She;s also stolen at least 33 bases every year at Georgia.
Georgia softball in the NPF
Gray and Emmanuel are the no. 12 and no. 13 Georgia softball players drafted into the NPF since 2007. The first Bulldog chosen in the draft was Kellie Middleton in the first round of the 2007 draft by the Akron Racers. Kasi Carroll joined her in Akron in the second round. The defunct Philadelphia Force drafted Megan McAllister in the fourth round.
The Bulldogs once again had three players drafted in 2010. Taylor Schlopy was the no. 2 overall pick by Akron. The Chicago Bandits used their no. 8 overall pick on Megan Wiggins and their no. 2 pick on Alisa Goler.
Kristyn Sandberg was the only Bulldog drafted in 2012. The Pride took her in the second round, no. 5 overall. Akron chose Tess Sito with the no. 16 pick in 2013 and Alex Hugo with the no. 10 pick in 2016.
The Pennsylvania Rebellion selected Chealsea Wilkinson with the no. 14 pick in 2016 as well. The only player drafted in 2017 was Cortni’s sister Sydni Emanuel. Akron must love the Bulldogs because they drafted her as well with the no. 16 pick.
Wiggins is the only former Bulldog still on a NPF roster. She has a career average of .308 with 70 home runs and 205 RBI’s.