Natalie Hernandez Makes Chicago Bandits 2014 Roster|
May 28, 2014
CHICAGO - UIC softball's Natalie Hernandez earned a spot on the 2014 roster of the National Pro Fastpitch's Chicago Bandits on Sunday, May 25, following open tryouts at the Ballpark at Rosemont. Hernandez was chosen alongside DePaul's Kirsten Verdun to join the Bandits for their upcoming season.
Hernandez is just the second Flame in UIC history to continue her career at the NPF level after former standout Destiny Mollison competed with the Orlando Wahoos in 1997.
"It means a lot to make the Bandits, especially having watched them these past four years while at UIC," Hernandez said. "With having coaches that went far in their careers, it really pushed me and gave me motivation to further my own career after college."
Following tryouts, eight players were invited by Bandits coaches to compete in a season-opening exhibition game later that evening against the Indiana Slammers, who the Bandits defeated in an 11-0 shutout. Hernandez and Verdun were the lone players selected out of those who participated in the tryouts exhibition game.
"The tryouts were challenging and a lot of it was based on endurance," added Hernandez. "I was with a lot of talented softball players and I wanted to make sure I did all of the little things right."
Hernandez recently wrapped up her senior season with the Flames after making her mark in the UIC career batting records with the 10th-best batting average (.347) and eighth-most home runs (24). Hernandez boasted a collection of accolades throughout her storied career and was named to the All-Horizon League First Team for the second time and the NFCA All-Great Lakes Region Third Team during her final season.
"We are so excited for Natalie to have this incredible opportunity to play at the next level," UIC head coach Michelle Venturella said. "There are not a lot of opportunities for women to continue their softball careers, but the NPF is a great avenue for top players to play beyond college. She has been a four-year starter for us at shortstop and has been a tremendous athlete that has led our program offensively and defensively. She is a wonderful person that will be a great representative for the league and the game. We are all very proud of her at UIC for this accomplishment."
About Chicago Bandits
Since 2005, the Chicago Bandits have been members of the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) league. Located in Rosemont, the Bandits provide an opportunity for female fastpitch players to further their careers at a professional level, and the roster has included such names as Jennie Finch, Stacy May-Johnson and Monica Abbott. The two-time NPF Champions play at The Ballpark at Rosemont, the only stadium in the country built for a women's professional team. The 2014 season will be the Bandits 10th season in the NPF.
About National Pro Fastpitch
National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) is headquartered in Nashville, Tenn. 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 and has been since 2002.