Kissimmee, FL – January 31, 2017 –The USSSA Florida Pride is pleased to announce the signing of former LSU Tiger Bianka Bell for the upcoming 2017 season.
Bell joins the USSSA Florida Pride from Louisiana State University, where she played with the Tigers under head coach Beth Torina from 2013-2016 and joined the LSU coaching staff as a student coach following her senior season.
“It feels great being able to represent one of the best teams in the NPF and I am extremely excited to be starting my journey with some of the best athletes in the world,” shared Bell. “I want to thank Don and his staff for welcoming me with open arms and I can’t wait to see what this season has in store!”
During her time at LSU, Bell started 253 games for the Tigers and finished her freshman season with a .347 batting average leading the Tigers with 12 home runs and 50 RBI earning All-SEC Freshman honors as well as Louisiana Freshman of the Year & SEC Co-Freshman of the Year.
“We are thrilled for the opportunity for Bianka to play in the NPF. As one of the most decorated players in LSU softball history, I am confident she will have a successful career in the NPF as well,” commented LSU Head Coach Beth Torina. “While we are sad that we can’t watch her play in purple and gold anymore we couldn’t be more excited to have her in her home state playing for such a quality organization like the USSSA Pride.”
In her junior campaign, Bell had her best offensive season with the Tigers averaging .415 including 85 hits, 18 HR, and 73 RBI on the season. She also earned a spot on the First Team All-SEC and became Louisiana Hitter of the Year. She finished her collegiate career averaging .372 and became the fastest player to reach 100 career RBI in program history and finished as one of the best hitters in LSU history.
“LSU Coach Beth Torina has for years turned out some of the best players in the nation and we are excited to welcome another Tiger to our team”, Pride General Manager Don DeDonatis said. “Her stats at LSU speak for themselves and I am excited to see what her debut season in the NPF as part of the Pride family will reveal.”
Last April, Bell was drafted 36th in the 6th round of the 2016 NPF Draft by the now disbanded Pennsylvania Rebellion. It was a surprise to Bell as she had informed the NPF teams interested in drafting her that she intended to fulfill her prior obligation to Team USA and would not be available to participate in 2016, but nonetheless she joined the class of LSU Tigers in the NPF.
Although flattered to be drafted, she finished out the summer with Team USA and is excited about the new opportunity ahead of her in 2017.
“I am looking forward to putting on my cleats and just being able to play ball again. Also, I am extremely excited about not only being around the game but getting the chance to be around even greater softball players every day. I hope to bring this team to another level of intensity and a drive that will enable us to get that first place trophy in August.”
When questioned about acquiring Bell, newly appointed Pride Assistant General Manager Megan Willis remarked, “We couldn’t be more excited about the pick-up of Bianka Bell! This fall we took a hard look at our roster and realized we needed to strengthen the depth of our infield as well as more right handed hitters. Bianca Bell fits the bill better than we could have imagined, and I for one am looking forward to seeing her get out on the field in a Pride jersey.”
The Pride kick-off their 2017 season on June 8th with a home opener against the Akron Racers.
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About USSSA Florida Pride: The USSSA Florida Pride is a professional franchise in the National Pro Fastpitch League that is owned and operated by USSSA. The amateur organization of USSSA has multi-sport coverage and encompasses teams and players from the United States and abroad.
About USSSA: USSSA is headquartered in Osceola County, Florida. USSSA is the World’s Largest Multi-sport Athletic Organization. Founded in 1968, USSSA has grown to over 3.7 million participants, competing in 13 nationally sanctioned sports including Baseball, Fastpitch, Slow Pitch, Karate, Basketball, Soccer and more! For more information on USSSA and to register your team visit USSSA.com. Also be sure to visit USSSAToday.com for the latest USSSA.
About National Pro Fastpitch (NPF): National Pro Fastpitch (NPF), an Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball since 2002, provides elite female athletes with an opportunity to pursue a professional career in diamond sports beyond their collegiate success. The 2016 NPF season will be televised on CBS Sports Network. Coverage includes the NPF College Draft presented by Bownet on Thur., April 14, followed by 23 regular-season games, a Championship Series Preview Special and the 2016 NPF Championship Series. The NPF recently announced that the Scrap Yard Dawgs, located in The Woodlands, Texas, will join the Akron Racers, Chicago Bandits, Dallas Charge, Pennsylvania Rebellion and USSSA Florida Pride for the 2016 season. National Pro Fastpitch players hail from the U.S., Australia, Canada, Japan, the Netherlands and New Zealand, representing the most accomplished and talented athletes in the sport of women’s softball.
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