Sara's Summer in the Pros: Entry #1

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Sara Moulton, a senior on the Minnesota softball team in 2014, left the Gophers as one of the most decorated players in program history after helping lead to the team to its first Big Ten Tournament title in 15 years, as well as its first-ever NCAA super regional appearance. Upon completion of her collegiate career, the Eagan, Minn. native signed on to play professionally with the Chicago Bandits of the National Pro Fastpitch league. The Bandits selected Moulton with the fifth overall pick in the NPF Collegiate Draft in March. Throughout the summer, Moulton will document her first season in the professional ranks.

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Now that I have had a chance to look back on our 2014 Gopher softball season, I couldn't be more proud of what we accomplished as a team this year. Some of the moments that stand out most to me were our team wins against LSU, Arizona State, Nebraska, and Michigan. Winning the B1G Tournament was incredible and it was a moment that I would give anything to go back and re-live again. Then came the regional tournament and we were able to show everyone what Gopher Softball was really about. We fought and clawed our way through regionals and earned the first super regional bid in Gopher Softball history. Although we fell short at supers, it was an incredible experience and one that we as a team will never forget. There are big things coming for the Gopher Softball program, and I couldn't be happier to have had a chance to be a part of the regrowth period.

Just 14 hours after arriving home from super regionals, I packed up my campus apartment, boarded a plane, and headed off to Chicago to start the next chapter. This new chapter included a new home, a new roommate, my new Chicago Bandits teammates, and the National Professional Fastpitch league. After my plane landed I was picked up and brought to my first Chicago Bandits practice. It was a blast getting to meet my new teammates and stepping foot on the Bandits' all-turf field for the first time. We had two team practices before getting on a bus and heading to our first games in Akron, Ohio.

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We played the Akron Racers in a four-game series--two games away and the final two games at home in a span of four days. It was weird suiting up in orange and black for the first time. I looked in the mirror and didn't recognize myself at first since I had been wearing maroon and gold for the past four years. I was in third relief for our first game and got to make my NPF debut in the bottom of the sixth inning when we were trailing 4-0. I will admit it, I was extremely nervous!

I threw eight pitches and recorded three groundball outs. The next day I got the start against Akron and felt a lot more comfortable on the mound. After four innings of work, I was relieved of my pitching duties. I also got to start the second game of our home series against Akron and pitched the first four innings of that game. My family was able to make the trip down to Chicago for our home series and I was grateful they got to watch me pitch--I think this was the first time in four years that my dad (Jeff) sat in his seat for two whole games! We finished our four-game series with the Akron Racers with a 3-1 record.

It is an absolute privilege to have the opportunity to extend my softball career and play for the Chicago Bandits in the NPF. My new teammates have been extremely welcoming and fun to be around. It's an honor to be able to take the field with some of the best players that have played the game. On Tuesday night, we will play an exhibition game against a men's baseball team and we have another two-game home series this weekend against Akron. I am excited for what is in store for this summer and I can't wait to challenge myself and grow as a softball player at the professional level.

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