May 30, 2013
COLUMBIA, Mo. - Mizzou's all-time winningest pitcher will take her talents to National Pro Fastpitch. Chelsea Thomas (Pleasantville, Iowa) signed with the USSSA Florida Pride on Thursday after being selected as the squad's 20th overall pick in the NPF College Draft on April 3. Thomas inked a two-year deal with the Pride, currently led by head coach J.T. D'Amico.
Thomas finished her career as one of the most decorated players in Mizzou history, earning three First Team All-America recognitions. She pitched to a 111-31 career record and totaled a school-record 1,174 strikeouts as a Tiger. Thomas was a First Team All-SEC selection after two First Team All-Big 12 nods in 2011 and 2012.
The Tiger ace helped Mizzou to the program's sixth-straight NCAA Super Regional appearance in 2013, earning Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Year en route. She was previously a two-time Big 12 Conference Pitcher of the Year (2011, 12). Thomas was a part of three Women's College World Series teams at Missouri (2009, 10, 11).
Thomas was also a force in the classroom, earning First Team Academic All-America in 2013 after being recognized to the Second Team last season. Thomas was additionally selected to the SEC Community Service Team this year.
Under seventh-year head coach Ehren Earleywine, three former Tigers have continued their softball careers in the NPF. Micaela Minner (2005-09) 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. "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 USSSA Florida Pride is a professional franchise in the National Pro Fastpitch League, owned and operated by USSSA (United States Specialty Sports Association). The Pride has placed no lower than runner-up in the past four seasons of NPF action, winning the league's championship in 2010.