Wednesday, August 17, 2022

On the Beat With Abbey Cheek

Over several seasons covering the National Pro Fastpitch Chicago Bandits, I conducted more than 150 player interviews, but I missed Abbey Cheek. On Monday, I finally had the opportunity to add Abbey to my list. That interview is at On the Beat With Abbey Cheek.
A native of South Carolina, Abbey was highly recruited out of high school. She went on to have a stellar career at the University of Kentucky. Abbey racked up a lot of records and accolades at Kentucky, including being named the SEC Player of the Year. A powerful hitter, who holds career records at Kentucky for home runs, RBIs, runs, slugging percentage and total bases, Abbey also was named to the SEC All-Defensive team during her final season.
She was drafted by the Bandits and was named NPF Rookie of the Year. Unfortunately, the NPF folded after Abbey's first season. Since then, Abbey played one season in Japan.
Abbey talked about her start in softball and her career. She indulged me by answering whether when playing for the Bandits, she ever tried to hit the expressway in batting practice, Despite Parkway Bank Sports Complex positioned with a Chicago expressway well beyond the outfield fence, the possibility of a home run reaching it is a continual topic of discussion among fans.
Last season, Abbey joined the softball coaching staff at Limestone University in Gaffney, South Carolina. She talked about the challenges and rewards of coaching young players at the NCAA Division II school.
Abbey also played the 2022 season with the USSSA Pride of the new Women's Pro Fastpitch league. Although the season was an exhibition, there are plans for expansion and a full regular season in 2023. Abbey talked about the debut season and the WPF future, as well as her own future.
The WPF is a pro league using standard scoring, as opposed to Athletes Unlimited Softball, which utilizes a fantasy scoring system to produce one individual champ. I attended a few WPF games and was impressed with every aspect from the play to the organization. Hopefully, the WPF continues to grow. There is plenty of room for both AU and WPF softball.
I thank Abbey for her time and consideration. Check back here and for updates on the WPF as announcements are made.

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