LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Former McNeese softball All-American and Olympian Erika Piancastelli is one of the 56 best players in the world that will make up Athletes Unlimited, a newly formed professional softball league.
Besides Piancastelli who have signed to play are AJ Andrews, Kelly Barnhill, Kylan Becker, Jessica Burroughs, Caleigh Clifton, Amanda Chidester, Emily Crane, Samantha Fischer, Jenny Gilbert, Sara Groenewegen, Paige Halstead, Victoria Hayward, Randi Hennigan, Sahvanna Jaquish, Kelsey Jenkins, Haylie McCleney, Taylor McQuillin, Aleshia Ocasio, Cat Osterman, Danielle O’Toole, Sashel Palacios, Nicole Pendley, Shelby Pendley, Mandie Perez, Lilli Piper, Abby Ramirez, Jordan Roberts, Amanda Sanchez, DJ Sanders, Samantha Show, Kelsey Stewart, Gwen Svekis, Nadia Taylor, Anissa Urtez, Tori Vidales, Haylie Wagner, Jessica Warren, and Megan Wiggins.
The inaugural season, which is set to begin August 30, will consist of a six-week season (three games each week) with all games being held at Parkway Bank Sports Complex in Chicago, Illinois.
“I’m super excited to play for this league,” Piancastelli said. “It’s the best of the best and I think it will really help me grow as a player and push me to get to that next level. The league is all about the players and it will allow us to use our voice and grow the game as much as we can.”
Piancastelli, the most prolific female athlete to play for the Cowgirls, is also member of the Italian National Team that qualified for the 2020 Olympics. She will be among several former collegiate champions and MVP’s as well as Olympic medalist and world champions that will make up this new league.
The league will be unique in the way team members change on a weekly basis and every part of the game is an opportunity to win. An alternate scoring system will be used which will enable players to earn points.
Following the last game of each week, the top four-point scorers will be named team captains and they will re-draft new players to make up their team for the upcoming week.
The alternate scoring system will reward both the players and their team with points for performance and points will be accumulated both during innings and overall team wins.
Players will earn points from individual innings won along with overall team wins, individual stats, and by earning MPV honors. Their points determine their ranking, which will be used each week for the draft.
All 30 games of the inaugural season will be broadcast live. CBS Sports Network will televise seven games in the United States and Canada including the weekly matchup between the top two team captains. ESPN will distribute 23 games across its platform in the United States.
Piancastelli is currently in Italy and will head to the United States next week where she will quarantine before heading to Chicago on August 16.