Alabama Crimson Tide softball has become one of the biggest sports draws in the area, and fastpitch fans are going to get an extra treat next summer.
National Pro Fastpitch (NPF), in agreement with Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports (TTS), will bring the 2016 NPF Championship Series to The University of Alabama’s Rhoads Stadium in 2016. The four-team tournament will start Friday, Aug. 19 with the best-of-three championship series beginning on Sunday, Aug. 21.
The NPF played its championship in nearby Hoover Metropolitan Stadium over the past two seasons. The event was scheduled to take place in Hoover again in 2016, but due to scheduling conflicts The University was able to land the event.
“We were fortunate in 2015 to experience a record attendance for our Championship Series in only our second year in Alabama,” NPF Commissioner Cheri Kempf said in an official release by the league. “Relocating the venue just a short distance away in Tuscaloosa will allow us to capitalize on regional consistency with the Series. It also cannot be understated, the beautiful facility that is Rhoads Stadium and the overwhelming support of local and regional fans for the sport of fastpitch softball.”
Tuscaloosa marks the fourth location for the championship series after previous events in Sulphur, La., Rosemont, Ill., and Hoover since the league took over complete operation of the series in 2010.
“The NPF Championship Series is a great opportunity for Tuscaloosa to host athletes and visitors from all over the world,” said Jay Kasten, director of sports for Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports. “The event will be an exciting time for the city and is expected to have a large economic impact on our community. We are proud to support such a great event and look forward to packing out Rhoads Stadium.”
Former Alabama All-America players Kelly Kretschman (USSSA Pride) and Kelley Montalvo (Akron Racers) are under contract to play with the NPF in 2016. Kretschman won the league’s Mizuno Player of the Year Award last season as her team finished runner-up in the championship series to the Chicago Bandits.
The complete schedule of championship events will be finalized in January with tickets going on sale shortly thereafter.