Three Sooners Selected in 2019 NPF Draft
NORMAN — Oklahoma softball senior infielders Sydney Romero, Caleigh Clifton and Shay Knighten were each selected in the National Pro Fastpitch League Draft on Monday night.
Romero was selected third overall by the USSSA Pride. She is the third Sooner to be selected in the first round in the last two years, joining 2018 draftees Paige Lowary and Paige Parker.
Clifton was the ninth overall pick, drafted by the Chicago Bandits in the second round.
Joining Romero on the USSSA Pride is Knighten, who was chosen as the 20th overall pick to close out the fourth round.
Three selections in the draft matches the second-most in one year in OU program history, also achieved in 2008 and 2018. In 2013, four Sooners were drafted.
A 2018 NFCA First Team All-American, Romero ranks in third nationally this season in total bases (122), sixth in hits (61), eighth in batting average (.462) and ninth in slugging percentage (.924) and runs per game (1.18). Additionally, her 15 home runs as a senior rank 17th, while her strikeout rate (33.0 at-bats per strikeout) is 16th nationally.
Clifton has earned All-Big 12 and All-Region accolades three times in her career, garnering NFCA All-America honors in 2017. The Wayne, Okla., native currently leads the Big 12 in on-base percentage (.542) and runs scored (48) this year while ranking second in slugging percentage (.881), walks (25) and triples (four); third in total bases (96) and home runs (12); and fifth in batting average (.413).
The Most Outstanding Player at the 2017 Women’s College World Series, Knighten is a two-time All-American and three-time All-Big 12 and All-Region honoree. As a senior, Knighten is currently hitting .378 with a .423 on-base percentage and .644 slugging percentage.
The 2019 draftees join Sooner alumni Paige Lowary, Paige Parker, Nicole Pendley, Lauren Chamberlain, Shelby Pendley, Keilani Ricketts, Jessica Shults, Michelle Gascoigne, Brianna Turang, Amber Flores, Samantha Ricketts, D.J. Mathis, Savannah Long, Susan Ogden, Lauren Eckermann, Norrelle Dickson, Heather Scaglione, Kami Keiter, Christina Enea, Erin Evans, Christy Ring, Leah Gulla and Kristin Vesely who were all drafted by the league. Oklahoma leads all NCAA programs with the most NPF draftees all-time.
The NPF College Draft featured five rounds of five selections for a total of 25 draftees in the 2019 rookie class.
Due to NCAA regulations, an active college senior-athlete may not sign with her respective franchise until her 2019 college season is over.
National Pro Fastpitch is headquartered in Nashville, Tenn. The league, created to give elite female fastpitch players the opportunity to pursue a professional career in their chosen sport, has operated since 1997 under the names of Women's Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Women's Pro Softball League (WPSL). NPF is the Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball in the category of women's fastpitch softball since 2002.