Bandits draftees highlight NFCA awards

The Chicago Bandits’ 2018 draft class found numerous spots on the National Fastpitch Coaches Association’s awards list, including a pair of All-American selections.

Here is a full recap of the national honors, which were announced Wednesday afternoon.

Gwen Svekis

Gwen Svekis, the No. 3 overall selection in the 2018 NPF Draft, earned a trio of awards. The Oregon standout nabbed first-team All-American honors to cap off a stellar senior campaign in Eugene. The Davie, Florida, resident amassed a .325 clip at the plate and paced the top-ranked Ducks in a number of offensive categories, including home runs (17), RBI (57) and slugging percentage (.681). Svekis also captured the NFCA’s Catcher of the Year award and Pacific Region First Team recognition.

Svekis and Oregon will take on Arizona State in its first matchup in the Women’s College World Series at 11 a.m. Thursday on ESPN.

DJ Sanders

Svekis’ teammate and fellow Ducks slugger DJ Sanders earned Pacific Region Third Team honors. Sanders, who transferred to Oregon following a standout 2017 season at Louisiana-Lafayette, in which she sported a a career-high .388 average with top marks in the NCAA in home runs (29), RBI (82) and slugging percentage (1.013).

During the 2018 season, Sanders continued to pummel opposing pitchers, ranking second on the team (behind Svekis) in home runs (16) and RBI (51). Sanders also led the Ducks in extra-base hits (25).

The Bandits selected Sanders with the 21st overall pick in the fourth round of the 2018 draft.

Jessie Scroggins

Jessie Scroggins, who signed her first professional contract with the Bandits on May 25, earned first-team All-American recognition after a standout final season at Baylor.

Scroggins, also a Central Region First Team selection and the 15th overall pick in the 2018 draft, became just the second player from the Bears’ program to earn first-team All-American status. Scroggins batted .461 and guided Baylor to a berth in the NCAA Tournament. During the regional round of action, the Lakewood, California, product batted an astounding .600 across three games with a pair of doubles and four RBI.

Aleshia Ocasio

Florida two-way star Aleshia Ocasio, whom the Bandits tabbed with the 10th overall pick in the second round of the 2018 draft, earned Pacific Region First Team honors.

Ocasio, whose Gators advanced to the WCWS for the sixth time in the past seven seasons, enjoyed a standout senior campaign on both sides of the plate. In the circle, Ocasio compiled a 22-7 mark with a 1.35 ERA and a pair of saves. At the plate, she delivered four home runs and 33 RBI to remain a force in all aspects of the game.

Second-seeded Florida is set to take on SEC foe and seventh-seeded Georgia in its first game of the WCWS on Thursday.

About Chicago Bandits

Since 2005, the Chicago Bandits have been members of the National Pro Fastpitch league. Entering their 14th season as a franchise, the Bandits have provided the Chicago area with high-level softball talent and entertainment en route to capturing six regular season titles and four Cowles Cup championships, the most recent coming during the 2016 campaign. Located in Rosemont, the Bandits play at Parkway Bank Sports Complex, one of the premier softball facilities in the nation. Parkway Bank Sports Complex is the only stadium in the country built exclusively for a women’s professional softball team. The Bandits provide an opportunity for female fastpitch softball players to further their careers at the professional level and has included legendary figures such as Jennie Finch, Tammy Williams and Stacy May-Johnson.

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