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OU catcher signs with professional softball team

Stephanie Kuzydym Modified: June 7, 2013 at 10:35 pm •  Published: June 7, 2013
Oklahoma pitcher Michelle Gascoigne, right, celebrates with catcher Jessica Shults, left, as Oklahoma defeats Tennessee in the seventh inning of the second game of the best of three Women's College World Series NCAA softball championship series in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, June 4, 2013. Oklahoma won the game 4-0 and the best of three series in two games.(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Oklahoma pitcher Michelle Gascoigne, right, celebrates with catcher Jessica Shults, left, as Oklahoma defeats Tennessee in the seventh inning of the second game of the best of three Women's College World Series NCAA softball championship series in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, June 4, 2013. Oklahoma won the game 4-0 and the best of three series in two games.(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Oklahoma pitcher Michelle Gascoigne, right, celebrates with catcher Jessica Shults, left, as Oklahoma defeats Tennessee in the seventh inning of the second game of the best of three Women’s College World Series NCAA softball championship series in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, June 4, 2013. Oklahoma won the game 4-0 and the best of three series in two games.(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Oklahoma catcher Jessica Shults signed a two-year contract to play for the USSSA Pride of the National Pro Fastpitch League.

The signing came just three days after Shults helped her team to a national title. The Valencia, Calif. native was drafted by the Pride with the fifth overall pick in April’s NPF Draft.

Shults professional career begins this Sunday (June 9) at 7:05 p.m. in a four-game series against the NY/NJ Comets.

From Oklahoma Athletics:

“USSSA is not only getting a national champion in Jessica Shults, but they are getting a phenomenal leader, a great person and someone who can be a face for their program,” Oklahoma head coach Patty Gasso said.

“Jessica has the ability to elevate the level of play of those around her, but her love for the sport of softball is also infectious. People that are around her have a great passion for the game, and I know that her signing with the Pride will be a great fit for both sides.”

Shults finished her OU career as the school and Big 12 Conference leader in home runs with 61. She also set the school record for most extra-base hits in school history (101) and finished second in school annals in runs batted in (230) and total bases (464), third in walks (126), fourth in slugging percentage (.664), seventh in runs scored (154), tied for ninth in hits (239) and tied for 10th in doubles (38).

A two-time team captain, Shults finished with a .342 batting average and posted the best fielding percentage (.995) and the most putouts (2,022) by a catcher in program history.

“Last season when I got a chance to watch her in person in Oklahoma City at the Women’s College World Series I knew that I needed to find a way to make her a member of the Pride,” USSSA Pride General Manager Don DeDonatis said. “We’re looking for her leadership and talent that led Oklahoma to the national championship to help the Pride to the Cowles Cup this summer.”