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Madison Shipman drafted to pro softball team

Valencia grad one of college's top players

Posted: April 7, 2014 10:39 p.m.
Updated: April 7, 2014 10:39 p.m.

University of Tennessee shortstop and Valencia High graduate Madison Shipman, left, hits the ball against South Carolina on March 23 in Knoxville, Tenn.

 

Things keep getting better for former Valencia standout softball player Madison Shipman.

She was selected No. 2 overall in the National Pro Fastpitch draft by the USSSA Pride on March 30.

If that name sounds familiar, it’s because it should to fans of Santa Clarita Valley softball.

The Pride is the same team that features former Hart and University of Oklahoma catcher Jessica Shults, and former Valencia and University of Michigan pitcher Jordan Taylor.

“It’s really awesome,” Shipman said. “We all grew up together. When we were little we wanted to make it big time, but we were 8, 9, 10 years old saying that. To actually make that happen when we’re older and through college, it’s pretty amazing.”

The Pride, playing out of Kissimmee, Fla., begin their play on May 30 against the PA Rebellion.

Shipman said she had an idea she would be drafted by the Pride — and watched the draft online.

“It was actually a very exciting experience,” she said. “It’s always been a dream of mine. I’m a huge baseball fan. I wanted to be drafted like the baseball guys are I was really excited. My parents were out that weekend and they were midflight when the draft actually happened so I had to call them afterward and they were excited.”

First, though, Shipman has other business to attend to.

Shipman, a senior shortstop at the NCAA No. 5 ranked University of Tennessee, made the preseason All-Southeastern Conference list and is on the Top 50 watch list for the 2014 USA Softball Player of the Year award along with Lady Vol teammate Ellen Renfroe.

USA Softball will announce the Top 25 finalists Wednesday, with the list narrowed down to 10 on May 7 and three on May 21 ahead of an official announcement of the winner on May 27.

She currently boasts a .409 batting average with 45 hits, eight home runs, 26 RBIs and 33 runs scored on the season.

For her career, Shipman has a .342 batting average and 34 home runs.

“It’s a huge honor for me,” she said. “Looking at some of the other names on the list, to be grouped up with them is a huge honor for me. I’ve worked so hard since I was little and to be at the end of my college career, it’s a little sad. It went by so fast.”

First, though, her team is looking to return to the Women’s College World Series, where Shipman and the Volunteers lost in the championship game to Shults’ Sooners last season.

“I’m feeling pretty good so far this year,” Shipman said. “We have a pretty young starting lineup, so it’s been fun mentoring them and teaching them. I’ve been through the SEC conference a couple times. It’s fun to be on the other side teaching them instead of me being the one that’s taught. My No. 1 goal is to win a national championship. I got a taste of it and now I want the whole thing.”

The good news doesn’t stop there.

Shipman was named as a finalist for the 2014 Senior CLASS Award in collegiate softball on April 2.

She is now one of 10 finalists, narrowed from a field of 30 candidates, for the award that honors student-athletes who excel both on and off the field.

Shipman is the career leader in grand slams at Tennessee with four, and she also tied the school record with a 20-game hitting streak that ran from Feb. 9 through March 11.

On defense, Shipman has a .957 fielding percentage with only six errors through 35 games, and only 28 in her career.

The anthropology major earned Capital One Academic All-American honors in 2013 and has been a first-team All-SEC player for the last two years.

The CLASS Award will be voted on by fans, media and coaches and a winner will be announced during the 2014 NCAA Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, which runs from May 29 through June 4.

Shipman hopes she’ll be in Oklahoma City either way — once again playing for a national title.

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