When Jolene Henderson graduates from Cal next month, there will be at least one job offer waiting. The Chicago Bandits of the National Pro Fastpitch League (NPF) selected Henderson in the first round of the league’s annual draft Monday. The former Sheldon softball star was the third overall selection.
Henderson later twittered, “I am honored to be drafted by the Bandits.” She cannot sign with the Bandits until the end of the college season.
But, first and foremost, the Golden Bears’ all-time winningest pitcher at 120 victories wants to lead Cal back into the Women’s College World Series for the third year in a row. The Bears (27-3) faced Arizona in Tempe on Tuesday and Wednesday, losing one of the three.
Cal will host Oregon for a pair of games Saturday and one Sunday.
Last Saturday, more than 1200 fans showed up at Sacramento State’s softball complex to watch Jolene, younger sister Danielle, a Cal third baseman, and former Sheldon teammate, Lindsey Ziegenhirt beat the Hornets, 1-0. Henderson struck out 14 batters in front of a partisan-Cal crowd that day.
Henderson isn’t saying for certain she’ll sign to play professionally, but she definitely has the opportunity. She has mentioned she’d like to coach somewhere after graduation.
"We've had a number of All-American pitchers here at Cal that have pitched at the Olympic level and the USA level, and here comes Jolene and she has now broken the mark to be the all-time winningest pitcher,” Cal coach Diane Ninemire said. “That is a phenomenal accomplishment by a great player and a great team player. I know that Jolene will never take credit for all 120 wins because she's the type of player that believes the team is who wins the game, and it is the team who wins, but she has certainly played a great part with 120 wins behind her on the mound."
Henderson’s a two-time All-American, was last season’s Pac-12 pitcher of the year and has won numerous other honors in her four seasons at Cal.
The fourth woman drafted by the NPF Monday was Killanni Ricketts of Oklahoma who pitched for Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose. She was selected by the USSSA Pride.
There are only two other clubs in the NPF currently, one in Akron, Ohio, and another in New York City. On the league website is a mention that they are actively seeking cities for expansion.
Fullerton Sweeps UOP
Cal State Fullerton opened Big West Conference play by completing the sweep of Pacific with a commanding 25-0 victory over the Tigers on last Saturday afternoon at Goodwin Field.
The Titans (25-3, 3-0 Big West) scored a season-high 25 runs on a season-best 25 hits, and shut out an opponent for the sixth time this season. In the game, former Elk Grove slugger J.D. Davis stroked a two-run double that broke open the game.
The Titan sophomore now has a .316 batting average in 27 games with two homers and 23 RBI’s. Davis is also a key pitcher for Fullerton. He’s appeared in seven games thus far, starting two of them, and has a 1-1 record with 3.07 ERA.
His Elk Grove teammate, Jared Deacon, is splitting time at catcher with Chad Wallach. Deacon is batting .367.
Charles Transfers To Stanislaus State
Another former Herd player, Justin Charles, has transferred to Stanislaus State in Turlock. He played part-time for two seasons at Fresno State.
Charles has grown quite accustomed to his new surroundings. The 2009 graduate from Elk Grove is the Warriors’ regular second baseman, hitting .250 in 31 games thus far.
Former Franklin pitcher Hunter Greenwood is 2-0 with a 2.18 ERA in 10 games for Sacramento State.
Another former Wildcat, Josh Silver, a key part of Cosumnes River College’s state championship team last year, is the starting shortstop for Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn. He’s batting .388 with two homers and 28 RBI’s in 32 games for Lee.
The defending champion Hawks entered April with an 11-11 record. On the 2013 team is Garrett Heisinger, Zack Stillwell and Malik Hill of Pleasant Grove, Shane Martin of Cosumnes Oaks, Joe Bettencourt and Ryan King of Elk Grove and Kyle Von Ruden and Josh Pigg of Franklin.