Cervantes wins title, Joiner has successful first year in NPF

LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky softball great Brittany Cervantes made the most of her fourth year in professional softball, earning several national honors while leading the Chicago Bandits to the 2015 National Pro Fastpitch Cowles Cup Championship on Monday.

Cervantes ended the regular season with a team-best .358 average, adding 26 runs scored, six doubles, nine homers and 23 RBI while leading the league in slugging percentage at .670 and on-base percentage at .507. Her impressive season at the plate led her to Louisville Slugger Offensive Player of the Year and All-NPF Team honors at the 2015 NPF Awards Banquet. Cervantes was also the Bandits’ Offensive Player of the Year.

The native of Chatsworth, Calif., kept her hot bat alive in postseason play, going 5-for-10 at the plate with a double and one RBI, drawing four walks. The Bandits played the USSSA Pride in the championship series with Cervantes going 4-for-7 in the two games played with the Bandits claiming the national championship with wins in each of the first two games of the three-game series.
 
Cervantes had a decorated career at Kentucky, playing catcher and third base during her tenure. An All-Southeastern Conference First Team selection in 2012, Cervantes earned three SEC weekly honors during her time at UK and ranks first all-time in RBI and home runs. She also ranks top-10 all-time in games played, doubles, walks, runs scored and slugging percentage.

The slugger hit 13 home runs in her final season with Kentucky and 15 during her junior season, which still rank as the third- and second-most homers ever hit in a season by a UK player. Cervantes' 52 RBI in 2011 ranks second all-time on UK's single-season record list, while her 55 runs scored in 2011 are the most in single-season history.

A two-year member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll, Cervantes graduated from UK with a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism in May 2012.

Cervantes wasn’t the only former Wildcat to have success in the NPF this season as Griffin Joiner saw significant playing time for the Akron Racers in her first season in professional softball.

Joiner, who completed her playing career at Kentucky in May in the NCAA Gainesville Super Regional, went straight into play with the Akron Racers seeing time in 28 games, including 26 starts. The native of Hopkinsville, Ky., had two doubles and one RBI during the regular season, while she had a hit in Akron’s two playoff games. Defensively, Joiner committed only one error and caught eight base runners stealing.

Like Cervantes, Joiner had a stellar four-year career at Kentucky, ending her time ranking top-10 all-time in games played, hits, RBI, batting average, walks, at-bats, home runs, slugging percentage, total bases, fielding percentage and putouts. In her final season, Joiner hit .299 with 26 runs scored, 43 RBI, nine doubles, one triple, 11 homers and a .442 on-base percentage.

This spring, Joiner was named a Senior CLASS Award First-Team All-American, while she was a five-time All-SEC honoree and was named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll all four years. During her career at Kentucky, Joiner caught five no-hitters and was the catcher for four of the program’s top-six pitchers in career wins.

For more information on the Kentucky softball team, visit UKathletics.com or follow @UKSoftball on Twitter and Instagram, or Kentucky Softball on Facebook.