Mississippi State softball pitcher Annie Willis is joining former MSU teammate Fa Leilua in the professional ranks.
Willis was selected seventh overall in Friday’s Women’s Pro Fastpitch draft. The WPF will begin play this summer, replacing the former National Pro Fastpitch league.
“It’s kind of like a dream come true,” Willis said after Friday’s game against South Florida. “As a little girl, I think every girl playing softball would dream of playing pro ball.”
Willis was picked by the Smash It Sports Vipers, one of two teams currently in the new league. Leilua signed with the Vipers on May 10. The team is based in Rochester, New York.
Willis’ selection came minutes before she stepped into the circle to begin the Tallahassee Regional against South Florida. She had a 2.73 ERA in 110 1/3 innings pitched for the Bulldogs coming into NCAA tournament play.
The Huntsville native transferred in from Troy to begin the 2020 season and played the past three seasons with the Bulldogs. She joined MSU catcher Mia Davidson in becoming a professional draft pick; Davidson went seventh in the Athletes Unlimited draft May 4.
“It’s such a rarity in women’s sports everywhere to get that opportunity,” Willis said. “Being given that opportunity is just something that I never could have imagined, and so I’m very excited for it.”
Theo DeRosa reports on Mississippi State sports for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter at @Theo_DeRosa.