If you’re from Central Florida and follow UCF sports–softball in particular–you almost certainly have heard of pitcher Shelby Turnier. She was a first team All American in her junior season, 2015, after having the lowest ERA in the nation. Yes, an ERA of 0.74 is crazy-good.
More than good enough to earn Shelby a roster spot on the Chicago Bandits, one of the more competitive teams in the NPF. They took her in the draft last year at no. 11 overall. That is the highest draft pick in the history of UCF softball.
There are six teams in the NPF and the top four go to the play-offs each year. At the time of this writing, the Bandits are in fourth place and would make it in if the season ended today. They are the defending champs; the Bandits are not shining as brightly in the 2016 campaign as they did last time out. They’ve had trouble coming up with clutch hits this year. And that problem plagued them last night in their game with the Akron Racers.
Shelby was in fine form and her five hit, one run effort would have easily won on most nights. But Racer DH Ashley Thomas went yard on Shelby in the sixth and that was all it took. She fanned eight hitters against the Racers and showed once again that she’s one of the NPF’s best rookie pitchers. This loss dropped her to 4-4 on the year, but I’d like the record to show that this one-run outing in six complete innings did lower her ERA is spite of taking the “L”.
Jason Lowenthal pens those fine features about Bandits softball. To see his good and thorough write up on last night’s contest, follow this link.
I’ve not had too much to say about sports here on da bulldog blog so far. But I’m a major sports fan, and love softball particularly. I’ll have a whole lot more to say about sports moving forward.
“Bulldog Ben” Basile
Photo credit: Benjamin Lawrence Basile