Missouri's Thomas will continue softball career with professional team Florida Pride

Thursday, May 30, 2013 | 8:47 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA – Missouri softball player Chelsea Thomas is taking her pitching talents to National Pro Fastpitch. Thomas signed with the United States Specialty Sports Florida Pride on Thursday after being selected as the team’s 20th overall pick in the NPF draft on April 3.

Thomas, who had the nation's sixth best record at 24-6 in 2013 and a 1.16 ERA, signed a two-year deal with the Pride.

Thomas, a three-time All-American, was recognized as the Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Year this season after being named Big 12 Conference Pitcher of the Year in 2011 and 2012. Thomas finished the season with league-bests in conference wins (13), conference strikeouts (117) and conference opposing batting average (.176).

Under head coach Ehren Earleywine, three former Tigers have continued their softball careers in the NPF. Micaela Minner was on Akron’s roster from 2010-11 and Rhea Taylor was on Chicago’s roster in 2012.

“It sounded like this was the best move for Chelsea on several different levels,” Earleywine said in a release. “I am supportive of whatever Chelsea decides to do and wish her all the best in her professional career.”

Based out of Kissimmee, Fla., the Florida Pride is a professional franchise in National Pro Fastpitch, a league owned and operated by the United States Specialty Sports Association. The Pride has placed no lower than runner-up in the past four seasons of NPF play, winning the league’s championship in 2010.

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