Kelly Kretschman starred on the softball field at the University of Alabama. She left Alabama as the career leader in average, RBIs, home runs, triples, doubles, hits, walks, runs, stolen bases, slugging and on-base percentages. She still holds the record in several of those categories, as well as remaining in the Top Ten of several categories in SEC history.
She joined the National Pro Fastpitch Akron Racers in 2005 and has been lighting up the NPF ever since. She played with the Connecticut Brakettes in 2006 and the Washington Glory in 2006, before joining the USSSA Pride in 2009 and remaining with them through the present.
Kelly is a 3x NPF Player of the Year and a 5x NPF champ (all with the Pride). Entering the 2018 season, Kelly was 38 years old and coming off another great season, during which she had an unbelievable .500 batting average. This season was a bit of a disappointment statistically for Kelly, but the Pride took the title and Kelly was a huge part of the success of the team.
Over the years, I have had the pleasure to watch the elite athletes of the NPF. I have written about the legendary pitchers like Cat Osterman and Monica Abbott, but Kelly is among those greats. She is a Hall of Fame type player.
I have spoken to Kelly many times and she is a quality person, as well. I see her sign hundreds of autographs and take hundreds of pictures after every game. She always has time for everyone, even this old reporter.
Kelly probably will not win any individual awards this season, but I am sure she is satisfied with that sparkly Cowles Cup championship trophy and rightly so.
It has been my pleasure watching and knowing her over the last 5 seasons. I hope to see her in action again next season.
Thank you to the Chicago Bandits for their hospitality all season. Thanks to Kelly and the Pride for their time and consideration. Check out ChicagoBandits.com for more info and updates on the Bandits and the league.
Kelly Kretschman and me in Rosemont, IL-July 2018.