FAYETTEVILLE – Former Razorback softball player Jessica Bachkora recently signed with the National Pro Fastpitch Diamonds softball team for the 2011 season. Bachkora, who is the current graduate assistant for the Razorbacks, was called on by the Diamonds in early May and signed a contract to play with the professional team for the 2011 season.
Bachkora set career-highs in nearly every offensive category during her four years as a Razorback. She is the career leader in batting average, runs, hits, doubles, home runs, RBIs, total bases, slugging percentage, walks and on-base percentage. Her marks for runs and total bases represent new Arkansas records. She also holds the single-season record for most home runs with 15.
"It is great being able to play again and get back on the field," Bachkora said. "I love playing ball I wasn’t ready to stop played even when I graduated last year. This is a great chance for me to continue playing and help the league grow. The NPF is really big on promoting the sport and it’s going to be great to be a part of that."
The professional league has four affiliate teams, the NPF Diamonds, Akron Racers, USSSA Pride and the Chicago Bandits. The teams compete against each other throughout the season and recently started a 20 for 20 campaign to get 20 teams in the NPF by 2020. The league has been operating since 1997 and is based out of Nashville, Tenn.
Bachkora signed her summer contract with the Diamonds in May and will play alongside current Tennessee pitcher Kelsi Dunne and Kentucky’s Megan Yocke who were each drafted in the 2011 NPF Senior Draft.
"I’m going to be playing with athletes I competed against when I played for Arkansas. So, this is going to be a great experience for me and I couldn’t ask for a better way to spend my summer," Bachkora added.
Bachkora reports to the Orlando, Fla. based team the end of this month to begin training on June 1. The first game for the NPF Diamonds is scheduled for June 9 against the Akron Racers in Ohio.