Saturday night, The Chicago Bandits took on the Dallas Charge in San Antonio, Texas to wrap up a two game series. But it was more then that for UCF Fans as it mean matchup between former UCF teammates Shelby Turnier and Kahley Novak. It was the first time that both Turnier and Novak faced each other in the NPF. In the first at bat, Novak grounded out to third in 3rd inning. In her second at bat against Turnier, Novak reached on fielders choice as she bunted towards third baseman Emily Carosone who threw to third base with the Charge base runner beating the throw. Novak would go on to score in the inning as the Charge would score 8 runs knocking Turnier of the game as the Charge defeated the Bandits 9-0. Turnier went four plus innings giving up 4 runs on just 2 hits throwing 78 pitches. Had a no-hitter going into the 5th inning before some wildness and defense mistakes help unravel the inning for Bandits and Turnier who took the loss to drop to 2-2 on the season with both losses coming against the Charge .
Turnier made her 1st career start against the Charge back on June 11th in Chicago. Novak did not play in the game as the Charge won the game. That week was a Reunion for Turnier, Novak and Samantha McCloskey who signed 10 day contract with the Bandits and was with the team at the time. They joined Stephanie Best, Allison Kime and Breanne Javier as UCF Softball players to play in the NPF.
Turnier pick up her 1st win in the NPF in Akron on June 15th against the Racers. Turnier picked up her second win of the season in relief on Wednesday in Houston against the ScrapeYard Dawgs. It was the same city where Turnier was at back in April on Draft night when Turnier was selected in the NPF Draft. Among the fans in attendance to see Turnier during the Scrapeyard Dawgs was former UCF players Pysha Simmons and Lindsay Pelow who were part of the original UCF Softball team in 2002 and are former teammate of Stephanie Best.
Novak entering her 2nd season in the NPF with the Charge was excited for Turnier when she was drafted in the NPF Draft in April. Novak talk with me about what Shelby could expect in the NPF and what it would be like to face Shelby in our interview from back in June.
Novak and Turnier played together at UCF from 2013-2015. They were part of Two American Conference Regular Season Championships (2014,2015) and Conference Tournament championship in 2015 at UCF. They both playing together help get UCF to two NCAA Tournament appearances and regional finals appearances (2014, 2015).
Both left a mark at UCF with Novak becoming school’s all-time leader in stolen bases in a career while Turnier became the program’s all-time leader in wins as well as being first UCF player to make 1st team All-American and finished in top 10 of USA College Softball player of the year in 2015.
Novak was selected in the 2015 NPF Draft 16th overall becoming 2nd UCF player ever to be drafted behind Stephanie Best who was selected in 2005 NPF Draft.
Best discussed Novak being drafted in April 2015.
Novak and Best always be connected beyond the NPF Draft as Novak was recruited by Best when Best was Asst Coach at UCF. “Kahley was a player that I took attention to quick because she was multifaceted at the plate!” Best said about Novak. “I loved watching her play, because she was a difference maker. When I recruited her to come to UCF , she played for a team called the Mini Bulls and she was their offensive spark. I feel like I never saw her get out once… No one was able to figure her out in travel ball. She had a short game and was also able to hit away productively. I couln’t wait to get her in the UCF lineup.”
Turnier broke Novak’s record of being highest UCF Softball draftee this past April when Turnier went 11th overall to the Chicago Bandits joining Novak and Best as UCF players being Drafted in the NPF.
“Shelby is one of the best pitchers in the country and deserves to be competing among the very best in the game, at the pro level. Best said about Turnier. “She has taken Allison’s lead as a trail blazer for UCF and has really helped put UCF on the map in the last couple years with her elite performances in all of Division 1 Softball.”
Turnier has been compared to Kime during her career at UCF as Turnier along with Mackenzie Audas chased many of Kime’s UCF records. Turnier joins Kime as the only UCF pitchers to pitch in the NPF. Kime signed as a free agent with the Rockford Thunder in 2008 a week after her UCF career ended just like Turnier signed her contract with Bandits a week after her career at UCF ended. Ironically like Kime, Turnier finished her UCF Careers in Gainesville Regional final against the No 1 ranked Florida Gators.Also like Kime, Turnier last ever win at UCF came in Gainesville regional via a shutout winning 1-0 games. Turnier’s 1-0 win came against Florida Atlantic while Kime’s came against No 1 Florida. Those are the only 2 shutouts UCF pitchers have ever thrown in the NCAA Tournament.
“Shelby will have a seamless transition as a pro athlete”. said Kime about Turnier in the NPF. “She will transition so well in the NPF and make an impact as a rookie.”
Kime was signed by then Thunder General Manager Aaron Moore who currently is the GM of the Bandits and drafted Turnier this past April.
Turnier against Novak marked the 3rd time that UCF Softball alumns faced each other in the NPF.
In 2008, Stephanie Best was playing for the Chicago Bandits while Kime a rookie was playing for the Rockford Thunder as they faced against each other. Best then requested and was granted during the season to be traded to the Thunder so she get a chance to play with Kime .
“Playing in the NPF both against and with Allison was an absolute honor. Best said about Kime. It was such a feeling of Pride getting to watch a fellow Knight come in that league and make an immediate name for herself. Ally is an absolute workhorse that you completely respect and root for when it comes to success… Regardless of what team she’s on and selfishly, It’s always better to be on the same team as the best!”
Kime would end up playing two seasons in the NPF with the Rockford Thunder leaving the game on top winning the NPF Chammpionship in 2009 playing with Cat Osterman. An achivement Kime says she would not had been to accomplish without Best.
“I am so thankful Steph was traded to the Thunder my first year in the league! She made my transition to the league a seamless transition with her veteran experience. She help me with the ins and out of the league and what to expect when playing in the league. Without her guidance rookie year I’m not sure I would have played as long as I did.”
In 2009, Kime got to play the veteran role as she face off against her former UCF teammate, Breanne Javier who was a rookie for the USSSA Pride. They would face each other in regular season in Florida and again in the NPF Championship Series in Akron.
“Its always nice seeing familiar faces when you in a an unfamiliar place”. said Kime on facing Javier in the NPF.” Bre is a tough out I know she made me work! She knew my weakness so I had to be extra careful when I pitched to her!”.
Breanne Javier talked to me about facing Allison Kime in the NPF and what advice she have for Novak and Turnier if they faced each other .
Turnier and the Bandits will host Novak and the Charge on July 19-20 then Novak will return the favor as the Charge host the Bandits on August 9-11. Turnier will have a homecoming before hosting Novak on July 16-18 when the Bandits come to Central Florida to play the USSSA Pride at Wide World of Sports Champions Field where the Atlanta Braves play spring training games.
Turnier and Novak hope to join Best and Kime in another cateogory to be compared. Being an NPF Champion like Kime was in 09 and Best was in 2007 with Washington Glory playing with Monica Abbott. Who knows come August maybe Turnier and Novak will have to go thru each other for the title just like Kime and Javier did 7 years ago.