Feb. 18, 2009
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Continuing a strong tradition of Tennessee slap-hitters who have gone on to success in the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) League, Lady Vol senior outfielder Lillian Hammond has been drafted by the Philadelphia Force in the second round (ninth overall selection) of the annual NPF Senior Draft.
Hammond becomes the fifth slapper in Tennessee program history to join the pro league including former Lady Vol All-Americans Sarah Fekete (Philadelphia `06), India Chiles (Akron Racers `07), Lindsay Schutzler (Chicago Bandits '07) and 2008 All-Southeastern Conference selection Kenora Posey (Akron Racers).
Also included among the prestigious list of nine total Lady Vols who have gone on to the NPF are National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-Americans Monica Abbott (Washington Glory '07), Kristi Durant (New England Riptide '06) and Tonya Callahan (Rockford Thunder '08) and standout NFCA All-South Region catcher Shannon Doepking (Akron Racers '08). Both Durant and Chiles did not participate in the league during the year they were drafted due to pre-existing injuries, while Posey joins the league for the upcoming 2009 campaign after completing her college degree during the summer of 2008.
"I have nothing to do with the success of our slappers," Lady Vol co-head coach Ralph Weekly said. "That is all Karen (co-head coach Weekly). She decided several years ago to learn that phase of the game. She visited several top universities, who had seen great success with it, and studied their techniques. She combined what she learned with her own ideas on coaching the speed game and has certainly done a great job with it in our program since then. Marty, Karen and I still work very hard with the power hitters and also want that to be a big part of our game. Sending five slappers to the National Pro Fastpitch League since 2006 is a testament to her hard work and success in that phase of our game."
Boasting a career average of .368 that rates ninth in Tennessee annals, Hammond has spent her career wearing the Orange and White making life miserable for Tennessee's opponents. The speedster out of Girls Preparatory School in Chattanooga, Tenn., currently rates among the top five in the Lady Vol career record books for steals with 51 swipes in 55 attempts. She also owns a staggering 106 runs scored, six doubles, an inside-the-park home run and 19 career RBIs while rating 10th in career on-base percentage at .415 overall. Hammond has proven herself equally prolific in the classroom by twice being chosen as a First-Team Academic All-American by ESPN the Magazine (2007, 2008).
Players selected in the NPF NCAA draft will be permitted to pursue any available roster spot on their assigned team after completing their college season.
Due to NCAA regulations, an active college senior-athlete is not eligible to sign with her respective franchise until her 2009 college season is finished.
2009 NPF Senior Draft Results
1 (1) - Akron Racers - Kaitlin Cochran, Outfielder, Arizona State
2 (2) - Akron Racers - DJ Mathis, Pitcher, Oklahoma
3 (3) - Rockford Thunder - Laurie Wagner, Outfielder, Houston
4 (4) - Philadelphia Force - Brette Reagan, Infielder, Baylor
5 (5) - Chicago Bandits - Brandice Balschmiter, Pitcher, Massachusetts
1 (6) - Rockford Thunder - Jenae Leles, Infielder, Arizona
2 (7) - Akron Racers - Brittany Weil, Pitcher, Iowa
3 (8) - Washington Glory - Kim Waleszonia, Outfielder, Florida
4 (9) - Philadelphia Force - Lillian Hammond, Outfielder, Tennessee
5 (10) - Chicago Bandits - Tammy Williams, Infielder, Northwestern
1 (11) - Rockford Thunder - Ashley Charters, Infielder, Washington
2 (12) - Akron Racers - Samantha Ricketts, Infielder, Oklahoma
3 (13) - Washington Glory - Stacey Nelson, Pitcher, Florida
4 (14) - Chicago Bandits - Jamie Schloredt, Catcher, Sacramento State
5 (15) - Chicago Bandits - Jessica Valis, Infielder, Houston
1 (16) - Philadelphia Force - Danielle Kinley, Outfielder, Penn State
2 (17) - Akron Racers - Melissa Pura, Infielder, Cal Poly
3 (18) - Akron Racers - Micaela Minner, Utility, Missouri
4 (19) - Akron Racers - Sari-Jane Jenkins, Outfielder, Oregon
5 (20) - Chicago Bandits - Amber Patton, Infielder, DePaul
1 (21) - Rockford Thunder - Ashley Holcombe, Catcher, Alabama
2 (22) - Akron Racers - Missy Penna, Pitcher, Stanford
3 (23) - Washington Glory - Maddy Coon, Infielder, Stanford
4 (24) - Rockford Thunder - Breanna Brown, Outfielder, North Carolina
5 (25) - Chicago Bandits - Izmena Cabrera, Outfielder, Sacramento State