Less then a week after her UCF Knight career came to an end in the NCAA Tournament’s Gainesville Regional Final against number 1 Florida. Shelby Turnier officially a Professional Softball player.
Turnier and the Chicago Bandits have agreed to terms on a one-year contract, general manager Aaron M. Moore announced Friday via the Chicago Bandits press release. Turnier was selected 11th overall at the NPF Draft by the Bandits which is the highest draft for any UCF Knight player.
“I am so thrilled to be able to continue playing the sport I love,” said Turnier via the Bandits press release. “As an athlete, you dread the day your career will come to an end and I can’t thank the Bandits organization enough for providing me the opportunity to extend my career.”
Turnier becomes UCF’s 5th player to play in the NPF joining Stephanie Best, Allison Kime, Breanne Javier, and Kahley Novak. Turnier not the first UCF pitcher Aaron Moore has signed to a contract as Moore who was the general manager of the Rockford Thunder prior to his current stint with the Bandits signed Kime back in 2008 as a free agent once Kime career ironically enough ended in Gainesville regional Final against No 1 Florida just like Turnier’s career ended.
Turnier will wear number one which is fitting as Turnier became the first All-American in UCF program history after earning First Team honors in her junior season in 2015. Turnier would end up finishing as a Top 10 finalist for College Softball player of the Year. That same season, Turnier was named the 2015 American Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year and led the NCAA in ERA with 0.87. Turnier was first UCF Softball pitcher to get to 80 wins in a career. Turnier also was the first Knight to start in 3 different NCAA Tournament regionals as Turnier help lead the Knights to 3 straight NCAA Tournament appearances 2014-2016.
Turnier also guided the Knights to 2 American Conference Regular season championships (2014-2015) and the American Conference Tournament championship where Turnier pitched a 1 hit shutout in the win over Tulsa at the UCF Softball Complex. Turnier also became the 3rd Knight pitcher of all-time to reach 800 career strikeouts joining Kime and Mackenzie Audas.
“Shelby is going to be a big addition to our rotation this season,” said Moore via Bandits Press Release. “She is a pitcher that was very successful in her collegiate career and we think she will continue that success in a Bandits uniform.
The Bandits won the NPF Championship in 2015 but lost ace Monica Abbott who signed with Scrapeyard Dawgs in a reported 1 million dollar contract. The Bandits also lost veteran pitcher Kirsten Verdun who departed. Turnier is expected step into the rotation and provide an immediate impact for the Bandits, as she will join a rotation that includes the following pitchers.
Michelle Gascoigne- Oklahoma 4th season
Lacy Waldrop- Florida State 2nd season
Sara Moulton- Minnesota 3rd season
Tatum Edwards- Nebraska 3rd season, 2nd season with Bandits
Morgan Foley- University of Indianapolis 1st season.
Turnier is expected to be with the Bandits when they open their championship defense with a three-game series at home against the Scrap Yard Dawgs, beginning at 8:05 p.m eastern. on June 2. Wont take long for Turnier to see familiar face as when the Chicago Bandits host the Dallas Charge on June 8-10, Turnier will face her former UCF Teammate Kahley Novak. Turnier will have a homecoming return when the Bandits play the USSSA Pride in Orlando at The Wide World of Sports Champions Stadium from July 16-18.
Stephanie Best ( 2005-2008,2010) Won NPF Title with Monica Abbott and the Washington Glory in 2007. Played with Allison Kime and the Rockford Thunder in 2008.
Breanne Javier (2009) – Was part of USSSA Pride 1st season and the Pride runner up in NPF Championship series where they lost to Kime’s Rockford Thunder
Kahley Novak (2015-present)- Was 16th overall pick in 2015 NPF Draft by the Dallas Charge.