Five National Team athletes selected in NPF draft
First-time Women's National Team member Morgan Zerkle was drafted 26th overall.
OKLAHOMA CITY – Five members of the Red, White and Blue will have the opportunity to compete as a professional athlete this summer after being selected in the 2017 National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) draft, USA Softball announced today. USA Softball Women’s National Team members Ali Aguilar (Orangevale, Calif.), Hannah Flippen (Bonita, Calif.), Delanie Gourley (Lakeside, Calif.) and Morgan Zerkle (Milton, W.Va.) were each drafted by the Scrap Yard Dawgs while Danielle O’Toole (Upland, Calif.) was drafted by the Chicago Bandits. Gourley was later traded to the Texas Charge.
“We are excited for the athletes on Team USA and want to extend our congratulations to all the athletes who were drafted last night to continue their softball careers,” said USA Softball Director of National Teams Chris Sebren. “The NPF provides an opportunity to continue to play at the highest level of women’s fast pitch softball. We look forward to a competitive and exciting 2017 NPF season.”
Aguilar, who was selected 13th overall, has had a standout senior season at Washington where she has compiled a .373 batting average with nine home runs, 30 RBI and currently leads the team with a .695 slugging percentage. Aguilar, who was a member of the 2016 U.S. roster that earned the Gold Medal at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Women’s World Championship, has been named First Team All-Pac-12 Conference twice in her career as a Husky and was named Second Team All-American in 2016.
First-time Women’s National Team athlete Flippen, who was the No.17 overall pick in the draft, was also selected by the Scrap Yard Dawgs. The reigning Pac-12 Conference Player of the Year, Flippen leads the conference with a .445 batting average and a .525 on-base percentage. In her career at Utah, Flippen has twice been named First Team All-Pac 12 Conference and was a First Team All-American in 2016. A member of the 2016 USA Softball Women’s Elite Team, Flippen hit .500 at the World Cup of Softball XI in her international debut, collecting four RBI with two home runs and four runs scored.
Joining Aguilar and Flippen with the Scrap Yard Dawgs is Marshall’s Zerkle, who will also be a first-time Women’s National Team member this summer. Zerkle, who was drafted 26th overall, has been named First Team All-Conference USA twice in her career with the Thundering Herd and leads the team with a .476 batting average. In her senior season, Zerkle has collected 59 hits and 35 RBI and became Marshall’s all-time leader in stolen bases this season. A member of the 2016 USA Softball Women’s Elite Team, Zerkle hit .667 at the World Cup of Softball XI, scoring five runs while picking up three RBI in her first international contest.
Gourley was drafted 12th overall by the Scrap Yard Dawgs before being traded to the Texas Charge. A 2016 First Team All-American, Gourley also has a 2016 First Team All-SEC selection in her career at Florida and earned an NCAA National Championship in 2014. A Gold Medalist at the 2016 WBSC Women’s World Championship, Gourley has compiled a 0.94 ERA in her senior season, issuing 160 strikeouts in 111 and one-third innings pitched.
First-time Team USA member O’Toole was selected eighth overall by the Chicago Bandits. The senior southpaw is 24-3 in 2017 and leads the Pac-12 Conference with a 0.93 ERA in 172 and one-third innings pitched. A First Team All-Pac 12 performer in 2016, O’Toole spent her first two seasons at San Diego State where she was a two-time All-Mountain West honoree.
Aguilar, Flippen, Gourley and Zerkle are all 2017 Senior CLASS Award Finalists, an award that focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their athletic platforms to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. Flippen, Gourley, O’Toole and Zerkle are also Finalists for the 2017 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, which is considered the most prestigious honor in Division I women’s college softball. The USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award recognizes outstanding athletic achievement by Division I female student-athletes and is entering its 16th year.
The NPF, an Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball since 2002, provides elite female athletes with an opportunity to pursue a professional career in diamond sports beyond their collegiate success. The NPF affiliate teams consist of the Akron Racers, Chicago Bandits, Scrap Yard Dawgs, Texas Charge and USSSA Florida Pride for the 2017 season.
For more information on the USA Softball National Team Program, please visit www.USASoftball.com.
About USA Softball
USA Softball is a 501(c)(3) not-for profit organization headquartered in Oklahoma City, Okla., and is designated as the National Governing Body (NGB) of Softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. One of the nation’s largest sports organizations, USA Softball sanctions competition in every state through a network of 70 local associations and has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 150,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than 2 million. USA Softball is dedicated to providing people of all ages the opportunity to play the game they love at a variety of levels by offering recreational, league, tournament and competitive play for fast pitch, slow pitch and modified pitch. USA Softball annually conducts thousands of tournaments throughout the country including over 100 National Championships. The USA Softball umpire program is among the nation’s largest and are widely known as the best trained umpires in the game.
As the NGB for the sport of softball, USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting the six USA Softball National Teams that compete in events such as the Olympics, Pan American Games, World Championships and other international and domestic events. For more information on USA Softball, including its founding and history as the Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA), please visit, www.USASoftball.com.