Griffin Joiner had an outstanding softball playing career at the University of Kentucky. She finished in the top ten in career games played, hits, home runs, RBI, batting average, walks, at-bats, slugging percentage, total bases, fielding percentage and putouts.
The Akron Racers selected her 19th overall in the 2015 National Pro Fastpitch draft. She was named to the 2016 All-NPF team as a catcher. In 2017, she was selected to try out for the USA Softball Women's National Team.
In 2018, Griffin was an assistant under Head Coach Holly Aprile at Pittsburgh. When Aprile was named Head Coach at Louisville for the 2019 season, Griffin joined her staff again.
The Cardinals finished the season with a record of 35-23. They won the first two games in the Evanston Regional on the road to the Women's College World Series, but lost a pair to Northwestern on Sunday, to end their season. Despite the tough losses, it was a successful season for the Cardinals and the future looks bright.
I caught up with Griffin on Friday of the Regional. She looked great and sounded even better. She is happy in her coaching career and looking forward to helping to build a contender at Louisville.
Griffin is just one of the many NPF alumni coaching in the collegiate ranks. I am happy to see her and them staying in the sport and helping the next generation of young players.
The NPF players certainly do not play for the money. Salaries are relatively small, but their passion is huge. They love the game and do their best to grow it. Women like Griffin prove that there are options for young softball players. The NPF, overseas leagues and coaching are all options after college.
Obviously winning is always a goal, but I hear more about the sport, the players and the future. I see the dedication and passion from women like Griffin and I feel better about the future of women's softball. It is definitely in a better place than 20 years ago and it is on a pth to keep improving.
Griffin Joiner and me in Evanston, IL-May 2019.