National Pro Fastpitch announced today the addition of a new affiliate team that will enter regular season competition with the league in 2020. The California Softball Commotion (CSC) will give the league a west coast presence for the first time since 2005.
The team, owned by security business expert entrepreneur, Damon Zumwalt, will focus on rostering some of the nation’s historical top NCAA performers while also prioritizing players that are familiar to the west coast market. Zumwalt, a former dual sport athlete at UCLA, competed in both football and wrestling for the Bruins, and went onto be inducted into the Wrestling Hall of Fame.
No stranger to successful entrepreneurship, Zumwalt, while still at UCLA, became the pioneer for peer security and crowd management, when he started Contemporary Services Corporation (CSC). CSC, now the market leader in event security planning, staffing and logistics for facilities around the United States, employs approximately 90,000 event staff professionals (dressed usually in their recognizable yellow windbreakers) working over 14,000 events annually. The CSC coverage includes NFL, NBA, MLB, MLS, PGA, NASCAR, and over 120 Universities’ sports and entertainment events.
“I am pleased to have the ability and opportunity to contribute to enabling these talented young women to pursue softball at the professional level in the NPF, and I am specifically committed to promoting the addition of west coast teams, so that we can have a complete cross country competition,” commented Zumwalt. “There is plenty of talent to create a very, very strong league, and women’s softball is fun to watch with a great deal of action. One of my only regrets in life was not being able to compete on the world stage after college. That is unfortunately, and too often for women, not even an option. I am proud of my contribution to providing more opportunities for more women to continue their careers at the highest level of this sport.”
“Adding a west coast team to the NPF is such a proud moment for the league, and doing it in a year where softball will also have the Olympic spotlight shining upon it, is special,” stated NPF Commissioner, Cheri Kempf. “This is a capable ownership in Damon Zumwalt, with a passionate commitment to the sport of softball and the players who play it. I am sure Damon and his assembled staff will put together a highly competitive team to represent the deep rooted success that has always lived in west coast softball.”
Leading the California Softball Commotion from the front office in the role of General Manager will be Deb Hartwig. Hartwig, a former collegiate All Region player as well as ASA Women’s Majors All American, is well known in the softball industry as a successful entrepreneur herself. Hartwig began her training facility of Just Softball in 2000 and has been the co-owner of the nations most popular and well-attended independent tournament, Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, since its inception in 2002. Hartwig was also the former Events Director for the NPF.
“Southern California has been longing for a professional team and the California Softball Commotion is just what they have been waiting for,” stated Hartwig. “It's an exciting time for the professional softball world and NPF, with this expansion and the Olympics both taking place in 2020. We are committed to bringing a quality product to the largest fan base in the nation and I'm honored to lead the Commotion in this great adventure.”
The California Commotion bring back a recognizable name in women’s softball with the Commotion being a top competitor in the Women’s Major Division of the former Amateur Softball Association (ASA) from 1992 through 1999. Star studded rosters that included the likes of Lisa Fernandez, Dot Richardson, Sheila Douty, Lori Harrigan, Michele Granger, Gillian Boxx, Leah O'Brien, Laura Berg, Amy Chellevold, Karen Walker, Pam Newton, Jennifer Brundage, Jill Justin, Debbie Doom, Jenny Condon, Janice Parks, and Lisa Longaker, combined for four ASA National Championships (1996-1999) and one Runner-up (1995).
The last presence for California in professional softball was the California Sunbirds, a team that competed in the NPF out of Sacramento and Stockton in the seasons of 2004 and 2005. Forty plus years prior, the International Women’s Professional Softball League (IWPSL), housed a complete west coast division, featuring teams known as the Bakersfield Aggies, San Diego Sandpipers, San Jose Sunbirds/Rainbow, Santa Ana Lionettes, and Southern California Gems.
The California Softball Commotion plan to announce scheduling and a Head Coach in the coming weeks as they prepare to join the NPF for it’s 17th season in 2020.
About National Pro Fastpitch (NPF)
National Pro Fastpitch (NPF), an Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball since 2004, provides elite female athletes with an opportunity to pursue a professional career in fastpitch softball beyond their collegiate and amateur success. The NPF affiliate teams consist of the Aussie Peppers, Beijing Shougang Eagles, California Softball Commotion, Canadian Wild of Southern Illinois, Chicago Bandits, and Cleveland Comets. Three complete competing teams will represent their respective countries in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. Those teams are Softball Australia, Softball Canada, and Team Mexico, who participate in the NPF as Aussie Peppers, Canadian Wild and Cleveland Comets. National Pro Fastpitch players hail from the United States, Australia, Canada, China, and Mexico, and represent the most accomplished and talented athletes in the sport of women’s softball.