Former Marshall University softball pitcher Andi Williamson will take part in the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) Championships this week.
Williamson, a member of the Herd from 2011-13 and a Chapmanville Regional High School graduate in 2009, will appear at the tournament with the Chicago Bandits. The Bandits (30-18) were set to take on the Akron Racers (24-24) in the first series of the tournament on Wednesday night. The USSSA Pride was set to play the Pennsylvania Rebellion in the other opening-round matchup.
Williamson is currently in her second season with the Bandits.
This season, Williamson was 3-3 on the mound with a 2.84 ERA. She tossed 49.1 innings and allowed 20 earned runs on 53 hits with 24 strikeouts and 27 walks. She started 10 games and made three relief appearances.
Williamson signed as a free agent in May of 2013 and started 13 games during the 2013 season. Williamson posted a 9-2 record with an ERA of 1.67, both of which ranked third in the NPF. She was named to the 2013 NPF All Star Squad and was also named as the NPF Miken Rookie of the Year.
Williamson is tied for the school record for wins at Marshall with 65. Additionally, Williamson ranks third all-time for innings pitched with 667.2 and is ranked first in career strikeouts with 731.
Along with the Bandits, Williamson also plays in Japan for Team Toda and will return to the team after the NPF Championships.
Williamson said her career at Marshall helped open up many of these professional opportunities.
“It allowed me to get the opportunity to play professional softball for the Chicago Bandits and then helped me get the once in a lifetime chance to play professionally in Japan,” Williamson said. “I am so blessed and thankful for all these amazing opportunities! We have a championship coming up so we are looking forward to winning it this year, because we have some unfinished business. We will finish that on the 23rd of this month and on the 27th I will be returning back to Japan to finish out the season over there.”
The Chicago Bandits also won the NPF Championship in 2008 and 2011.
The Marshall Softball program has a rich history with the NPF. Former players Jessica and Amanda Williams were the first Marshall players to be drafted into the league. Jessica won a title with Chicago and also played for the Rockford Thunder and Akron Racers. Amanda Williams played for the Rockford Thunder, winning a title there in 2009 and was named as an all-star. She also captained the Tennessee Diamonds and won another title with the Bandits in 2011.
Other players include Rachel Folden, who won an Offensive Player of the Year award and the Wilson Home Run Trophy and Noelle Adams, who joined Amanda and Jessica Williams on the Rockford Thunder.
Herd coach Shonda Stanton also coached the Akron Racers from 2007-08, while pitching coach Chanda Bell played for the Chicago Bandits in 2012.
The NPF Championships are slated to run from August 20-23 in Hoover, Ala.