June 2, 2010
By Sarah Tarasewicz
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - UCF assistant softball coaches Nicole Trimboli and Stephanie Best will be heading to the UCF Softball Complex this weekend for a reason other than coaching, as they are both slated to suit up for the USSSA Pride of the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) league in an exhibition series against the Venezuela National Team.
"It is great that the Pride is taking advantage of such a beautiful field and facility here at UCF," Best said. "The ownership is definitely making huge strides in helping develop softball at the professional level."
The Pride, who is based in Orlando, begins its four-game series Thursday at 7:05 p.m. at the UCF Softball Complex, with Trimboli scheduled to get the start at first base and Best earning the starting nod at second base.
"It is a great feeling to get to play at UCF again," Best said. "This is where I spent four years of my life playing and where I have some of the best memories of my career."
Gates open for Thursday's contest at 5:35 p.m., with the first 200 fans with a USSSA flier, which can be found on the team's Facebook page, admitted free of charge.
First-year assistant coach Trimboli enters her first season playing with the Pride, while beginning her seventh year in the professional ranks. After a successful stint at Nebraska, Trimboli began her professional career in 2004 after being drafted by the Akron Racers, where she was named a NPF All-Star as a rookie and eventually helped her team to the NPF Championship in 2005.
The lefty played her last three seasons with the Chicago Bandits, where she garnered a spot on the NPF All-Star team and led her squad to the NPF Championship title in 2008. For her play during the Championship series that season, Trimboli was also named the NPF Championship MVP.
Best will begin her fifth year in the professional ranks, also her first with the Pride, when she takes to the field Thursday, having taken a year off in 2009.
The former UCF standout and second-year assistant coach became the first Knight to be drafted by the NPF in 2005 by the New England Riptide, before going on to play with both the Washington Glory and the Rockford Thunder. While with the Glory, Best and her squad won the 2007 NPF Championship.
Along with Trimboli and Best, the USSSA roster includes seven Olympians, including Cat Osterman, Jessica Mendoza, Natasha Watley, Andrea Duran, Kelly Kretschman, Caitlin Lowe and Lauren Lappin.
"I am excited about the opportunity to be a part of this professional team here in Orlando," Best said. "The talent pool is ridiculous with this team across the board, so the fans will be getting a treat this summer."
Besides playing four home series at the UCF Softball Complex throughout the summer, the Pride will also play three home series at ESPN Wide World of Sports.
USSSA Pride Home Schedule (at UCF Softball Complex)
June 3 vs. Venezuela National Team - 7:05 p.m.
June 4 vs. Venezuela National Team - 7:05 p.m.
June 5 vs. Venezuela National Team - 7:05 p.m.
June 6 vs. Venezuela National Team - 12:05 p.m.
June 25 vs. Tennessee Diamonds - 7:05 p.m.
June 26 vs. Tennessee Diamonds - 7:05 p.m.
June 27 vs. Tennessee Diamonds - 12:05 p.m.
Aug. 5 vs. Tennessee Diamonds - 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 6 vs. Tennessee Diamonds - 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 7 vs. Tennessee Diamonds - 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 8 vs. Tennessee Diamonds - 12:05 p.m.
Aug. 19 vs. Akron Racers - 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 20 vs. Akron Racers - 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 21 vs. Akron Racers - 5:05 p.m. (DH)
Aug. 22 vs. Akron Racers - 12:05 p.m.
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