April 8, 2011
By Brian Davis, Assistant Media Relations Director
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Continuing a strong tradition of Tennessee softball players who have gone on to success in the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) League, Lady Vol senior outfielder Kelly Grieve has been drafted by the Akron Racers in the fifth round (18th overall selection) of the annual NPF Senior Draft.
"We are really proud of Kelly, and Akron is getting a great player, leader, and person," Lady Vol Co-Head Coach Karen Weekly said. "She is the ultimate competitor and will be very tough to replace next year. Kelly plans to attend veterinary school after graduation, and her academic curriculum may require her to attend summer school this year, but Akron still wanted to secure her rights in the draft. That speaks volumes about the type of player she is and their desire to have her on the Racers. She is an absolute joy to coach, and we are very happy for her."
Grieve becomes the sixth slapper in Tennessee program history to join the pro league including former Lady Vol All-Americans Sarah Fekete (Philadelphia Force `06), India Chiles (Akron Racers `07) and Lindsay Schutzler (Chicago Bandits '07), 2008 All-Southeastern Conference selection Kenora Posey (Akron Racers `09) and former NFCA All-Region choice Lillian Hammond (Philadelphia Force `09).
Also included among the prestigious list of 10 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 joined the league for the 2009 campaign after completing her college degree during the summer of 2008.
A stalwart in center field during her career at Tennessee, Grieve has emerged as a team leader both on and off the field of play. On the diamond, the Asheville, N.C., native has continued her strong contributions into a stellar senior season, posting a .376 batting average with seven doubles, four triples, four HR's, 14 stolen bases and 27 RBIs. A two-time preseason Watch List inclusion for the prestigious USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year award (2010, 2011), Grieve has definitely made her mark in the UT record book, currently rating 11th in career batting average (.369), second in both stolen bases (97) and triples (12), sixth in runs scored (169) and eighth in hits (236). Off the field Grieve was chosen as one of 27 national nominees for the 2011 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award that is presented annually to the softball player that best exemplifies the true nature of the "student-athlete." An animal science major on a pre-veterinary medicine track that plans to attend Vet School when her collegiate playing career in complete, Grieve was honored last season for her 3.31 GPA as an ESPN Academic All-District IV selection.
National Pro Fastpitch is headquartered in Nashville, Tenn., and was created to give elite female fast pitch players the opportunity to pursue a professional career in their chosen sport. The league has operated since 1997 also under the names of Women's Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Women's Pro Softball League (WPSL).
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 college season is finished.
2011 NPF Senior Draft Results
1 (1) NPF Diamonds - Kelsi Dunne
2 (2) Akron Racers - Taylor Schlopy
3 (3) USSSA Pride - Jenn Salling
4 (4) Chicago Bandits - Dorian Shaw
1 (5) USSSA Pride (2011 Trade with Diamonds) - Kelsey Bruder
2 (6) Akron Racers - Megan Bush
3 (7) NPF Diamonds (2011 Trade with Pride) - Morgan Melloh
4 (8) Chicago Bandits - Megan Wiggins
1 (9) NPF Diamonds - Megan Yocke
2 (10) Akron Racers - Toni Paisley
3 (11) USSSA Pride - Jordan Taylor
4 (12) Chicago Bandits - Alisa Goler
1 (13) NPF Diamonds - Whitney Larsen
2 (14) Akron Racers - Morgan Childers
3 (15) NPF Diamonds (Draft Day Trade with Pride) - Brittany Hile
4 (16) Chicago Bandits - Kristin Shifflet
1 (17) NPF Diamonds - Aja Paculba
2 (18) Akron Racers (Draft Day Trade with Pride) - Kelly Grieve
3 (19) NPF Diamonds - Rhiannon Kliesing
4 (20) Chicago Bandits - Kara Nelson