Athletes Unlimited held their first ever draft on Wednesday. Team Captains pitcher Haylie Wagner (Gold), corner infielder Jessica Warren (Orange), outfielder Nicole Pendley (Blue) and middle infielder Sami Fagan (Purple) took turns selecting Olympians, National team members and present and former pro teammates. In a draft of 56 elite softball players, every pick was a winner.
With the first overall pick, Wagner (Team Gold) selected catcher Amanda Chidester, her teammate on the Chicago Bandits and a fellow Michigan alum. The other first rounders were pitcher Cat Osterman (Team Orange), pitcher Taylor McQuillin (Team Blue) and pitcher Danielle O'Toole (Team Purple). Three pitchers were selected by the three offensive players, while the pitcher selected a catcher.
Captains had two minutes to make each pick. Rosters required three pitchers, two catchers, four infielders (two corner infielders and two middle infielders), three outfielders and two “unlimited” players, which can be any position. In actual game play, players are eligible at any position.
A native of Allen Park, MI, Chidester was the 2019 National Pro Fastpitch Player of the Year, NPF Offensive Player of the Year, and Home Run Award winner, while playing for my beloved Chicago Bandits. Of course, Chiddy will forever hold a special place in my heart for her nice grab of my "somewhat" wild first pitch last season.
Prior to the draft, Athletes Unlimited held scrimmages. Wagner led all players with 356 points, based on individual and team performance.
The Athletes Unlimited season opener is Saturday at 1 p.m. ET at Parkway Bank Sports Complex in Rosemont, Illinois. A second game follows at 4 p.m. ET, with doubleheaders Sunday and Monday.
The next draft will be on Tuesday. Four new captains will be named based on performance. Those captains will draft the teams for the next round of play.
You can check for coverage here an also on GlobalWomensSportsRadio.com, where you can see full team rosters. Also, be sure to go to AUProSports.com for all of the league info and check out Athletes Unlimited on twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Amanda Chidester and me in Rosemont, IL-August 2019.