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NCSA Named Official Recruiting Partner of USA Softball (SportsTravel) Chicago-based athletic recruiting network Next College Student Athlete, which is involved in 37 sports and works with a network of 35,000 college coaches nationwide,  has been named as the “Official Recruiting Partner” of USA Softball.

Athletes Unlimited Broadcasts Softball Draft at ESPNW Summit (Front Office Sports) On Wednesday, Athletes Unlimited aired its 2022 softball draft on a platform no other draft has had before: the ESPNW Summit. The draft was shown as part of the Summit’s virtual livestream and between panels at the in-person event in Brooklyn, New York.

Pac-12 Conference Starting Softball Tournament in 2023 (SportsTravel) “The Pac-12 could not be more excited to add a softball championship to its lineup of postseason events,” Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff said. “This new championship will offer student-athletes an amazing experience against top-notch competition, elevate the league’s softball brand in advance of the NCAA Tournament, and provide fans the opportunity to celebrate the incredible success of Pac-12 softball with a marquee event on our campuses.”

Perfect Game Launches Softball Division (SportsTravel) Perfect Game will launch a new softball division dedicated to providing young girls and women with playing experiences and advancement opportunities in the United States and abroad.
Perfect Game has been organizing baseball events for 27 years and began laying the foundation for its entry into softball in 2019. 

Perfect Game, With Addition Of Softball, Aims To Close Opportunity Gap (Forbes SportsMoney) It is easy to get caught up in the inequalities between professional leagues for men and women, and miss the gaps in opportunity for players of various sports along the pipeline.

Accordingly, while men who play baseball have enjoyed the ability of Perfect Game, a training model for young baseball players that’s produced 1,600 major leaguers over the past 27 years, a similar path was not available to women who play softball. (The limitation on the girls’ baseball side, incidentally, has produced the landmark work of Baseball For All).

To be clear, women’s baseball and softball are different sports. But the announcement Tuesday that Perfect Game Softball, around in initial form since 2019, will be ramping up to a full-service performance support system, on and off the field, will continue the work of narrowing the gap in athletic opportunity between girls and boys, all of which feeds into lesser adult outcomes for women.

“Perfect Game Softball seeks to replicate the baseball model and provide previously unavailable on and off field opportunities for amateur female athletes, including post-playing career positions within the sport,” Perfect Game said in a release Tuesday.

What that means, in practice, is a group of distinguished softball figures atop the pyramid. Destinee Martinez will head up softball operations, while Jessica Shults will be in charge of scouting. Both come with resumes that indicate the seriousness of the Perfect Game approach.

Mike Candrea, longtime University of Arizona softball coach, will advise on-field programming, and Jennie Finch is expanding her role in the sport as educational ambassador, a chance to utilize her deep connections to softball as well.

““I cannot think of a better ambassador of the game than Jennie Finch, someone I have long admired and looked up to as the leader of the women’s softball movement,” Martinez said. “Having Jennie and Coach Candrea on the Perfect Game Softball management and operations team will allow us to have a greater impact on the women’s fastpitch movement in a short period of time.”

The sport is at a crossroads at the moment professional. The primary pro league, National Pro Fastpitch, suspended operations in August 2021, even as the sport continues to soar in popularity at the youth and collegiate levels. And Athletes Unlimited, meanwhile, offers a different league structure, and has completed two seasons.

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