One of the first moves the Pennsylvania Rebellion made in piecing together the roster for their first year in the National Pro Fastpitch league was acquiring pitcher Sarah Pauly.
The 6-3 right-hander came over with outfielder Nikia Williams, infielders Jenn Salling and Laura Lappin in a trade with the USSSA Pride for the Rebellion’s first-round pick in 2015. What the Rebellion received in Pauly was one of the most heralded pitchers in the college and pro ranks, an important aspect for a team making its league debut tonight against the Pride in Salisbury, Md. (7 p.m.).
Pauly is expected to get the start.
Not only is Pauly one of the most heralded pitchers in the college ranks, she’s also one of the NPF’s most durable and winningest throwers.
In her nine seasons in the NPF, the 31-year-old Pauly has been in the league finals each year and was part of three championship teams.
“I hope I’m good luck,” said Pauly with a smile.
Pauly teamed up with Cat Osterman to help pitch the Pride to second place behind the Chicago Bandits in the regular season, but the Pride swept the best-of-3 championship series. Now, she hopes to be one of the leaders on a young Rebellion team.
“Just being a veteran and coming into a new program, myself, Lappin and Salling will show them the ropes and how things are done on and off the field,” said Pauly. “Whatever is necessary to get ready for the season.”
Pauly’s roots in the game were set by her father, Rick, who was a coach at South Carolina Upstate, the same school that produced pitcher Anna Miller, a fourth-round pick of the Rebellion in last month’s draft. Rick was pitching coach for Miller before retiring after this past season.
“My dad played men’s fastpitch and he was a pitcher,” said Pauly. “I remember when I was 12, he took me in the backyard to throw, and I didn’t want to do it. I’m glad I stuck with it because it’s consumed me. I didn’t want to do it when I was younger because I had other things I wanted to do. I didn’t want to practice. I wanted to watch TV and go out with my friends. When you’re on a travel team, it’s all you do. It stuck with me, and I practiced and kept getting better. I’m glad that I did it. I’m glad I listened to my dad.”
Pauly grew up in Phoenix and attended Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, where she had an outstanding career. She is one of only a handful of pitchers in NCAA Division I history to win 100 games, strike out 1,000 batters, maintain a sub-1.00 ERA and average double-digit strikeouts for a career.
Pauly began her NPF career as a first-round pick in the 2006 draft by the Connecticut Brakettes. She is the league’s career leader in wins (87), innings pitched (931 1/3), complete games (96) and games started (132).
“I didn’t think I would be in the league this long,” she said. “I knew I wanted to play until I couldn’t. That’s been my motto: I’ll play till my arm falls off. I’ll play until I can’t. Right now, I’m having fun out there.”