Joiner Drafted by Akron Racers in Fourth Round of NPF Draft
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- During the University of Kentucky's 4-0 victory over in-state rival Louisville on Wednesday, senior catcher Griffin Joiner was selected in the fourth round and 19th overall in the 2015 National Pro Fastpitch College Draft by the Akron Racers. Initially, Joiner was listed as the 20th overall pick, but a market pick to start the fourth round made Joiner the 19th pick, while she was the 20th player selected.
"I'm excited and thankful for the opportunity to play softball after college and compete with and against some of the best players to ever play the game," Joiner said. "I have been very fortunate to be surrounded by great coaches, teammates and quality people at UK, and I know this is only possible because of the impact they have all had on me as a person and player. I'm looking forward to seeing what the rest of this season has in store for us."
The native of Hopkinsville, Ky., is the third Wildcat player to ever be selected in the NPF Draft, joining All-American and current assistant coach Molly Johnson-Belcher, who was selected second overall in the 2010 draft, and All-Southeastern Conference performer Megan Yocke, who went ninth overall in 2011. Joiner will join UK's all-time home run leader Brittany Cervantes as the only two former Wildcats currently in the league. Cervantes plays for the Chicago Bandits.
"There were a lot of things going on last night, but Griffin getting drafted was very special to everyone involved in our program and we're all happy for such an amazing person," said UK head coach Rachel Lawson, referring to Joiner getting drafted, UK's win over Louisville and Kelsey Nunley tying the school record for career wins all within an hour. "She has worked so hard for so long to get this opportunity and that speaks to the kind of person she is and the wonderful support system her parents and family have extended to her. Our team was overjoyed on the bus ride home last night for Griffin."
Joiner is having a great senior season with a .333 average, adding five doubles, one triple, six homers and 30 runs batted in. Defensively, Joiner has not committed an error this season with a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage, while she has only allowed four stolen bases with five runners caught stealing. The catcher is the overwhelming RBI leader of the team with 11 multi-RBI games, including four games of three or more RBI. Joiner's hits have come at clutch times for the Wildcats as 15 of her 30 RBI have come with two outs.
Joiner's name is all over the UK career record book, ranking 10th all-time in hits, fourth in RBI, ninth in batting average, sixth in doubles, third in walks, fourth in home runs, seventh in slugging percentage and fifth in total bases. The senior has started all 224 games of her collegiate career, including 220 games at catcher. Last season, Joiner led Kentucky to its first-ever trip to the Women's College World Series, ending the season on a seven-game hitting streak, including six RBI in UK's NCAA Super Regional win over UCLA.
During her stint at Kentucky, Joiner has earned numerous awards and is only the fourth player in school history to earn four or more SEC honors from league coaches. Joiner's list of career awards include All-SEC Freshman Team by league coaches (2012); SEC Freshman of the Week (2012); Second-Team All-SEC by league coaches (2013); SEC All-Defensive Team by league coaches (2013); Preseason All-SEC by league coaches (2014); SEC Player of the Week (2014); Louisville Slugger/NFCA Player of the Week (2014); CoSIDA Academic All-District (2014); SEC All-Defensive Team by league coaches (2014); Third-Team NFCA All-Southeast Region (2014); Preseason All-SEC by league coaches (2015); SEC Academic Honor Roll (2012, 2013, 2014).
In March, Joiner was named a candidate for the 2015 Senior CLASS Award -- an acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®. The Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. Joiner joins 29 other NCAA Division I softball players selected for their excellence on and off the field, namely in four areas - community, classroom, character and competition.
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