Pro softball franchise hopes to make a home in Nashville

Friday, May 14, 2010 at 3:53pm

Cheri Kempf, President and Commissioner of National Pro Fastpitch (formerly the
Women’s Pro Softball League) confirmed reports from Knoxville media that the one of the league’s franchises, the Tennessee Diamonds, has relocated to Nashville.

The move comes less than a month to go before the start of the season. The Diamonds are one of four teams in the league and scheduled to begin play with a June 1 exhibition. The regular season opens on June 9.

“The move was totally by necessity, Kempf said. “It was not planned nor did we desire to do it.”

At this point the Diamonds do not have a home field, but Kempf says options include David Lipscomb, TSU and MTSU.

Regardless, the commissioner, who has been involved with softball in Nashville for over 20 years, thinks the match will work.

“I know the Nashville softball community will give us a great opportunity to succeed”, she said. “The women are approachable and willing to meld into the community. If we can get people to find out they are here there will be a reasonable amount of support.”

The Tennessee Diamonds were franchised to Blount County this winter.

An ownership group in East Tennessee that had completed the process of buying the team began to miss payment deadlines in April. That group eventually communicated that it did not intend to fund the team.

“We spent about 30 more days trying to help them understand their legal obligation to try and work something out with them,” Kempf said. “Last week it just became quite clear that they were unwilling to cooperate.”

The league features some the country’s best women’s softball players, including former Olympians. The Diamonds roster includes former UT stars, pitcher Monica Abbott and catcher Shannon Doepking, who were recently acquired in trades with the idea that they would boost attendance at home games in East Tennessee.