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USSSA Pride Withdraw From NPF

(Photo courtesy of National Pro Fastpitch)

The USSSA Pride have decided to withdraw from the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) as of Dec. 31, the organization announced Friday.

The Pride, who had been in the NPF since the team was founded in 2009, captured seven regular-season titles and five Cowles Cup championships during their time as affiliates of the professional softball league.

"The league has dealt with adversity before, due to the fact that we are a very young professional sports league, and we will likely deal with adversity again," NPF Commissioner Cheri Kempf told Softball America in a phone interview. "I think that what's important for us is to continue to move forward. We've done that with the announcement of our new format and scheduling (for 2020) and there's a lot of excitement around that. That's what we will continue to do."

After defeating the Chicago Bandits in last month's NPF Championship Series to capture the organization's fifth Cowles Cup, USSSA's executive director and CEO Don DeDonatis III confirmed with Softball America that conversations within the organization had previously taken place about the Pride potentially leaving the NPF.

On Friday, DeDonatis released a statement to the Pride's players, associates and partners about the organization's decision to withdraw from the NPF. A separate statement was shared on the Pride's social media accounts.

"This decision was made with great consideration and care," DeDonatis said in the statement. "As one of our long-standing partners, we thank the NPF for its contributions and collaboration over the past 11 years. We value the relationships that have been built and appreciate what our organizations have accomplished together."

During the team's tenure in the league, USSSA took part in 11 NPF seasons and never missed an NPF Championship Series.

"As we move into 2020, USSSA is proud to continue our mission of being the most-trusted resource in fastpitch," DeDonatis added in the statement. "As such, our USSSA Florida Pride professional team will continue to compete while promoting the game of fastpitch through our USSSA programs."

As of now, the NPF will possess five teams for the 2020 campaign, which is set to begin in May. Last month, the league announced a new scheduling format for next season that will feature a series-event model that is designed to have multiple teams competing together at the same site.

The NPF just completed its 16th season as a professional softball league. The affiliate teams that currently still exist in the league include the Bandits, Aussie Peppers of Minnesota, Beijing Shougang Eagles, Canadian Wild of Southern Illinois and Cleveland Comets.

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