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Pittsburgh adds pro fast-pitch softball team

| Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013, 6:45 p.m.

Add the Pennsylvania Rebellion to the list of the city's sports franchises and women's professional softball to the list of local sports offerings.

Starting in 2014, Consol Energy Park in Washington will house not only the Washington Wild Things but also the Pennsylvania Rebellion, one of four National Pro Fast-pitch teams.

“This really is the top level for this sport,” team owner and managing partner Francine Williams said. “We're excited to bring it in.”

The Rebellion inherit the roster of the New York/New Jersey Comets after the team was unable to secure a permanent home field. Williams said decisions on player and manager retention are ongoing.

Pennsylvania will have the No. 1 overall pick in the league's April draft.

Other NPF teams include the Akron Racers, Chicago Bandits and USSSA Pride, a Florida-based team.

With single-game tickets ranging from $5 to $15, the Rebellion will play a 48-game schedule, 24 of them at Consol Energy Park between early June and mid-August.

“Western Pennsylvania is legendary for its sports and its ever-growing fan base, so we're thrilled for it to be the latest setting for fast-paced NPF action,” league commissioner Cheri Kempf said in a news release. “NPF offers family-friendly entertainment and showcases the world's top talent in fast-pitch softball, making Consol Energy Park a perfect fit for our newest home venue.”

The team already has set up an advisory group that consists of area high school, college and travel coaches as a way to set up future clinics, fundraisers and community events.

“It's great to have something that close around here that will generate even more interest in fast-pitch softball in this area,” said Canon-McMillan softball coach Michele Moeller, who's a member of the panel.

Williams cited the growing interest in softball as a reason for this. Wednesday's news release quoted Pennsylvania as having 797 softball-playing high schools and 2,500 registered youth teams.

“It's the pinnacle of the sport,” Williams said. “We have a high concentration of softball players of every level. It just seems like a natural fit.”

Jason Mackey is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jmackey@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Mackey_Trib.

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