Dec. 10, 2003
MONTGOMERY, Texas – Senior Tara Knudsen became the first ever Georgia Tech softball player to be drafted by the National Pro Fastpitch draft on Dec. 7, 2003. Knudsen was selected by San Antonio in the third round of the senior draft, and she will join the franchise after her 2004 softball season with the Yellow Jackets.
“I’m really excited about having the opportunity to play after college,” said Knudsen. “It’s great that women are getting chances to play their sport professionally. Right now I’m looking forward to the upcoming season with Georgia Tech and I think we can be very competitive this year.”
The revamped league will consist of eight teams located in Akron, Ohio, Lowell, Mass., Houston and San Antonio, Texas, Sacramento, Calif., Denver, Colo., Tucson, Ariz., and the greater New York/New Jersey – the only franchise that remains from the leagues’ beginning in 1997.
“This is a great opportunity for Tara,” said head coach Ehren Earleywine. “I know this means a lot to her and it’s something she has worked for all of her life. I really believe she is going to be one of the most feared hitters in the pro league. She is without a doubt one of the best all-around players I have seen in all of softball and I think she will prove that she can stack up against anyone in the country. Everyone involved with Georgia Tech softball is proud of Tara and this great accomplishment.”
Knudsen currently ranks in six career offensive categories in the Jacket record book. The Thornton, Colo., native is the school career leader in slugging percentage (.583), second in home runs (34), third in RBI (102), fourth in doubles (30) and fifth in batting average (.323).
This past season, Knudsen started in all 62 games at shortstop and led the Atlantic Coast Conference in home runs (13) for the second straight season. The infielder also led the Yellow Jackets for the third straight year with a .309 batting average. Knudsen was named to the All-ACC first team for the second consecutive season.
Her sophomore season proved to be the finest for the senior thus far. Knudsen hit .374 with 16 home runs (tying a school record) and drove in 51 runs. Knudsen was rewarded for her outstanding season by becoming the second Yellow Jacket (Laura Williams, 1997) to earn All-America honors, selected to the third team by the NFCA. She was also tabbed All-Southeast Region first team by the NFCA.
Knudsen was the first of four ACC players selected in the senior draft. Virginia shortstop Heather Field was drafted by Sacramento in the fourth round, along with Florida State catcher Elisa Vasquez (Texas). Last year’s ACC Player of the Year, FSU’s Jessica van der Linden, was also taken in the senior draft by Arizona in the fifth round.
The Georgia Tech softball team will begin its 2004 season in Monroe, La., for the Mardi Gras Tournament starting Feb. 7.