Rachel Folden First Pick of Chicago Bandits

DENVER, COLO. – Marshall softball's All-American catcher, senior Rachel Folden, was selected seventh overall, the first pick in the second round and was the first player drafted by the Chicago Bandits at the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) Senior Draft. Folden is the third Thundering Herd softball player to be drafted by the league and the fourth former MU player to participate in the league.

Folden will be the fifth person from Marshall to be involved in the NPF and was also the only player from Conference USA to be selected. "It's a great opportunity for Folden to continue her already highly decorated career," Marshall head coach Shonda Stanton said. "She has been presented a great opportunity and we wish her the best of luck and look forward to competing against her in the summer."

Stanton was the head coach of the Akron Racers last season. Akron finished the 2007 regular season with a 26-17 record and a second place finish. The Racers made its fourth consecutive appearance in the NPF playoffs.

Folden, a Baldwin Park, Calif., native has enjoyed a stellar campaign at Marshall University, with her final season just two tournament in. She has single handidly rewrote the record books. The Herd catcher and designated player holds the all-time record in career runs batted in (169), home runs (43) and currently has a career batting average (.400). Folden has been named to the NFCA/Louisville Slugger All-American team for three-straight years. She has also been first team in both the Mid-American Conference as a frosh and in Conference USA the last two years. She was also named MAC Freshman of the Year in 2005 and Conference USA Player of the Year in 2006.

"Rachel is someone I've been keeping an eye on for three years, since she played at Marshall with former Bandits Amanda and Jessica (Williams)," said Bandits owner Bill Conroy. "The Williams sisters highly recommended Folden as a potential player for Chicago. She's a two-time All-American selection, a USA Top 50 Player of the Year candidate and she is a workhorse behind the plate."

National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) and its six-affiliated teams held its annual Senior Draft on Feb. 18 via conference call to select 24 of the best college players in the four-round draft. Each team had at least three selections in the four-round draft, with the Akron Racers holding a league-high six picks. There was also a lot of movement prior to draft day in terms of the final order, with 14 of the 24 picks changing hands between the teams. When the order was finalized, it was the Philadelphia Force that held the No. 1 overall selection, a pick they acquired in an off-season trade with the Chicago Bandits. Philadelphia also held the No. 2 overall pick, followed by the Akron Racers, New England Riptide, Rockford Thunder and Washington Glory to close out the first round.

Chicago was the only team in the league not to hold a first-round selection or select a pitcher in the draft, but they did add some much-needed depth at catcher with their first selection, the No. 7 overall pick, when they took Folden. Through 11 games this season, Folden is third on the team with a .406 average, second with seven doubles and leads the team with two home runs and six RBI. She has a .813 slugging percentage, has scored 10 runs on 13 hits, is 2-for-2 on stolen bases, has recorded 45 put-outs, five assists and has zero errors.

The Herd had three former players playing in the NPF last year: Noelle Adams, Jessica Williams and Amanda Williams. All three played for the Rockford Thunder. Amanda and Jessica Williams were both selected by the Chicago Bandits in the 2006 draft.

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