Four stars drafted to Aussie Peppers

Credit: Washington University Softball

Four stars drafted to Aussie Peppers

The Aussie Peppers have drafted four U.S. college stars to take part in the 2019 National Pro Fastpitch season beginning 9 June.

This season, the Travelodge Aussie Spirit squad will compete under the Aussie Peppers of Minnesota as preparations continue for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualifier in September later this year.

Following the 2019 National Pro Fastpitch draft on Tuesday morning AEST, the Aussie Peppers have drafted three pitchers and an infielder to the roster which will feature the majority of the Travelodge Aussie Spirit squad throughout the season.

In the second round, the Aussie Peppers selected Washington University’s star pitcher Taran Alvelo, a teammate of Australian and up and coming pitcher herself, Gabbie Plain.

Selected at number eight overall, Alvelo is 18-4 this season with a 1.93 ERA and is fourth among active pitchers in the NCAA in both strikeouts and wins. She earned her first All-American honors after the 2018 season and was named to USA Softball’s Preseason Collegiate Player of the Year watch list this season.

The Aussie Peppers made history with the 13th pick in the draft by selecting the first ever Drake University Softball athlete, pitcher Nicole Newman.

Newman, who is already Drake’s all-time career leader in strikeouts (1,055) and wins (81), is having a tremendous final season for the Bulldogs. She is 17-6 with a 1.11 earned run average and a nation-best 255 strikeouts. Newman also leads the nation in hits allowed per seven innings (3.01) and strikeouts per seven innings (12.8).  Newman has thrown three perfect games, including one last weekend against Loyola and been named MVC Pitcher of the Week seven times.

With the 18th pick in the draft, the Aussie Peppers selected Texas A&M infielder Riley Sartain, the 2017 NFCA All-American tops her team’s offense with six home runs and 19 walks and is tied for first with seven doubles. The Aledo, Texas, native has driven in 24 runs and has scored 26 times, which ranks second on the team.

Known for her defensive prowess, Sartain holds a .960 career fielding percentage after starting in 220 games at shortstop and third base throughout her four-year career. Offensively, she has hit 35 home runs with 135 RBI and 31 doubles.

The final pick for the Minnesota based team went the way of Indiana Softball senior Tara Trainer.

The Lebanon, Ohio native has her name near the top of every pitching category in the Indiana records books, including ranking second in career strikeouts behind Amy Unterbrink with 767. Trainer’s 64 career victories rank fourth all-time, while her 159 appearances are second in IU history and her 123 career starts are third.

This season, Trainer is carrying a 1.81 ERA with a 22-7 mark, becoming the first Indiana pitcher since Melloh to turn in a 20-plus win season. Trainer has fanned 195 batters, already good for 11th most in a single year. In addition, Trainer now owns four of the top-12 spots in single-season strikeout rankings at Indiana.

The Aussie Peppers will kick off there season on 9 June in a five-game series against the Beijing Eagles at their home ground of Caswell Park, North Mankato.