The Scrap Yard Dawgs had a night to remember at the 2017 National Pro Fastpitch in Nashville, TN on April 24, 2017. The Dawgs entered the draft with 4 picks, but after a trade with the Texas Charge, finished the draft with 5 exceptional college athletes.
With the Dawgs first pick of the night (13th pick overall), they selected Washington and Team USA standout, Ali Aguilar. Ali Aguilar was a stand-out shortstop of the Washington Huskies in her four-year career. She started in 49 of the 52 total games her freshman year with 47 of those starts at shortstop. In the six NCAA tournament games the Huskies played in during the 2014 season, Aguilar hit two home runs and drove in eight runs. In her sophomore year, Ali led the Pac-12 and her team in doubles (23) along with a team-best .411 clip at the plate, 78 hits, 66 runs scored, and an impressive .795 slugging percentage. The Huskie earned All-American honors in 2015 where she led the team with 20 multi-hit and 18 multi-RBI games. Ali was a member of the USA Junior Women’s National Team in 2013 where she was a Silver Medalist in the WBSC Junior Women’s World Championship. In 2016 Ali was a World Cup Participant for the USA Women’s Elite Team hitting .385 in her World Cup appearance.
With the second pick (17th overall), the Dawgs drafted an infielder from Utah, Hannah Flippen. Hannah has managed to write her name quite a few times in the Utah Softball Record Book. The California native and now All-American and 2016 Pac-12 Player of the Year has been a core player for the Ute’s softball program. In just her freshmen year Flippen tied for second in the Pac-12 with 27 double plays and tied for third with 68 hits. In 2015, she finished third in the Pac-12 with nine (9) sacrifice hits. For her career, she owns the highest batting average of any Ute ever at .382 and is fourth all-time with 151 runs scored. Flippen was most recently selected to represent the USA Women’s National Team in 2017.
The Dawgs used their third pick of the night (18th overall) on Oregon standout infielder, Nikki Udria. Nikki made an immediate impact on the Oregon Ducks when she hit .324 with 46 runs, seven doubles, one triple, three home runs and 40 RBIs in her first season. She also went 4-for-9 with two runs scored and a RBI in four games at the Women's College World Series. A Third Team All-Pacific Region pick in 2015, Nikki was fourth-best at the plate with a .367 average while slugging .544 with 32 RBIs. In her Junior campaign, an impressive .405 clip at the plate good enough for second-best on the team to go with a team-best 17 home runs earned her First Team All-Pacific Region honors. All 58 starts were at shortstop where she maintained a .929 fielding percentage. In her Ducks career, Udria has recorded 231 hits, 34 doubles, 35 home runs, and 171 RBIs.
The Dawgs had another set of back-to-back picks, and drafted MJ Knighten (25th overall), and infielder from Nebraska. MJ Knighten will certainly be one of the top 10 players of the Nebraska Softball Program that will be talked about for years to come. In 2014, she was not just the only freshmen position player to be an All-Big Ten selection but was the first NU freshman third baseman to earn all-conference honors since 1993. She recorded 38 RBIs (T6th freshman total in school history). Knighten had a record breaking season in 2015, 1 of 17 players nationally to post a .400 batting average. She became the third Husker to produce 60 RBIs in a season, the fifth to produce 80 hits in a season, the seventh to produce 50 hits as a freshman and sophomore, tenth to produce 100 hits prior to her senior year, and the third-fastest Husker to reach 100 hits (in 92 games). An All-American Honoree in 2016 she became the 16th overall and 7th First-Team. She was ranked 5th nationally in home runs, 13th in runs, 19th in RBIs, and 23rd in slugging percentage. With 21 homers, she set the second-highest total in NU history and the most by a junior. She also became the first Husker to total 60 hits, 60 runs, and 60 RBIs in a season.
With the last pick of the evening, the Dawgs selected Morgan Zerkle, an outfielder from Marshall. Morgan Zerkle has improved vastly each season of her collegiate career. In her freshman year, she was ranked in the Top 10 of two NCAA records (T4th - .81 Stolen Bases Per Game and T2nd – 48 Stolen Bases). She collected 67 hits on the season which is third highest by any freshman at Marshall. In her second year with The Herd she has one of the best single seasons in program history hitting .506 with 89 hits which set a new program record for both and ranked No. 2 in Division 1. She was named an All-Mideast Region First Team selection and the recipient of the Golden Shoe Award Winner: Nation’s Leader in Stolen Bases. In 2016, Zerkle was invited to join the USA Women’s National Elite Team. She hit .482 with 54 hits in 34 games while stealing 28 bases. Zerkle continues to climb the ladder of success as she was most recently named to the USA Women’s National Team and the 2017 Conference USA Preseason Player of the Year.
The Dawgs would like to thank all five draftees, their universities, and the NPF for a fantastic evening!