1994-1998 HISTORICAL TIMELINE
Decatur Pride and California Commotion make NFA debut in Decatur, Ill.
June 15–July 13, 1995
Blaze and Storm visit 16 Midwest cities on 1995 WPF Tour. ESPN2 televises four games on tour. Carla Brookbank becomes the first Akron-area player to play on the tour as a member of the Blaze. The game featured an 11-inch ball, the pitching distance at 49 feet and base distances set at 75 feet.
July 2, 1995
Carla Brookbank wins her first game in a 5-3 decision over the Storm. She finishes the tour with a 2-2 record and a 1.66 ERA.
October 31, 1995
1996 WPF Amateur Draft held in Minneapolis, Minn. Oct. 8, 2996 WPF announces that it will begin play in May 1997. AT&T Wireless Services Inc. named title sponsor.
May 25, 1997
The WPF, despite placing Akron’s bid for a team on hold, the league sends the Carolina Diamonds and the Georgia Pride to visit Akron for the first Pro Exhibition game.
July 14, 1998
3,873 pack Akron, Ohio’s Firestone Stadium to watch Stars defeat Strips 8-1 in inaugural WPF All-Star Game. The fans would learn earlier that day that Akron would become the first Midwest franchise and begin play in the summer of 1999.
November 6, 1998
WPF Suspends operations of Wahoos in Orlando, FL. Contracted players assigned to Racers of Akron, Ohio. Akron obtains the rights to the Championship roster which included Crystl Bustos and Sarah Dawson – pitcher of the year. Racers trade Pitcher Kaci Clark to obtain the rights to Akron native Carla Brookbank.
December 5, 1998
WPF changes name to Women’s Pro Softball League (WPSL). 1999 WPSL Senior Draft held in St. Petersburg, FL.
December 9, 1998
Racers participate in first-ever WPSL Draft. Traci Conrad, a First-Team All-American first baseman from Michigan, becomes the first pick of the Racers and the third overall selection. The Racers use the sixth pick overall (first round) to tap Liza Brown (P), from DePaul.
December 22, 1998
Michael Bastian, Centenary College Head Coach, was named the Racers first full-time head coach.
2001 - 2003
2001-2003 HISTORICAL TIMELINE
At the headquarters of MLB in New York, NPF announces plans for recruitment of independently owned teams and unveiled its new name National Pro Fastpitch and logo. Akron Racers continue with the support of the Akron Racers Foundation under GM, Joey Arrietta.
December 7, 2003
The 2004 NPF Draft included a total of 80 players. The Racers use their first pick in the draft and the second overall selection to obtain the rights to Mississippi State outfielder, Iyhia Mc Michael. With the 9th pick overall the Racers grab catcher, Jenn Poore (Oregon). Arrietta goes back to 2004 draftee, Oli Keohohou Long Beach) with the 25th spot in the draft.
2004 HISTORICAL TIMELINE
Akron open the 2004 campaign with a thrashing at the hands of the Texas Thunder 10-1 in Texas.
July 7. 2004
July 14, 2004
East NPF All-Stars fall to Team USA 5-0 in front of 4,600 fans at Don E. Porter Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, OK. Racers Brandi Stuart got one of only two hits, a double, given up by Lisa Fernandez. In the East vs. West game, Racers catcher, Jenn Poore grabbed one of only two hits off the Thunder’s Christa Williams in the 1-0 loss to the West All-Stars.
December 3, 2004
2005 HISTORICAL TIMELINE
March 10, 2005
The Akron Racers of NPF announce the signing of three members from the 2004 Gold Medal winning USA Olympic team. Infielder Crystl Bustos, outfielder Kelly Kretschman, and catcher Jenny Topping will all be members of the 2005 Racers Team.
March 23, 2005
March 23, 2005
NPF announces the 2005 schedule that will include a 48-game regular season schedule for each of the six NPF teams. The six NPF teams include the Akron Racers, Arizona Heat, Chicago Bandits, New England Riptide, NY/NJ Juggernaut and Texas Thunder. The California Sunbirds will also play a limited schedule in 2005.
August 30, 2005
After trailing by four runs early in the game, the Akron Racers take the 2005 NPF Championship in a 5–4, eight-inning championship game win over the Chicago Bandits, the regular season Champions. Racers centerfielder, Iyhia McMichael, drove a Jennie Finch change-up over the left field wall to claim Akron’s first title. Radara McHugh was brilliant in relief of starter.
December 22, 2005
2006 HISTORICAL TIMELINE
2007 HISTORICAL TIMELINE
February 14, 2007
2008 HISTORICAL TIMELINE
Virginia Tech sensation, pitcher Angela Tincher, becomes the Racers first pick in the 2008 NPF Senior Draft. Akron uses the 11th pick overall to select Hawaii’s Kate Robinson (P/OF).
August 30, 2008
The Racers placed two players on the ALL-NPF despite struggling through the 2008 season. Kristen Butler and Angela Tincher grabbed spots on the All-NPF Team. Tincher posts a league-leading 157 strikeouts in her rookie season with the Racers. While Butler grads the league Defensive Player of the Year honors.
2009 HISTORICAL TIMELINE
June 6, 2009
Rookie sensation Lisa Norris tossed a perfect game in her first stop in the circle as a pro player.
Firestone Stadium, once again, was the site of the NPF Championships as Cat Osterman and the Rockford Thunder slammed the door first on the Racers and then take down the USSSA Pride to grab their first NPF title. Osterman’s near perfect NPF performance earned her the tournament’s MVP honor.
August 30, 2009
It was, however, the return of Crystl Bustos that fans of all ages wanted to see back in a Racers uniform. Bustos wasted no time picking up the 2009 NPF Most Valuable Player award as well as the league Best Offensive Award before setting down her cleats at home plate. The Racers’ coaching staff including Barb Sherwood, Radara McHugh, Shawn Reis and Crystl Bustos received the Coaching Staff of the Year Award.
October 21, 2009
22010 HISTORICAL TIMELINE
February 15, 2010
Racers grab Ohio State catcher, Sam Marder with their first selection (7th overall) in the 2010 NPF Senior Draft. Marder was forced to sit out the 2010 campaign due to a nagging shoulder injury. Akron acquires with their second pick UCLA’s pitcher/first baseman, Megan Leganfeld (11th overall).
Bustos steps down as the Racers field manager to suit up for the 2010 season. Assistant Coaches Shawn Reis and George Bustos named co-head field managers.
2011 HISTORICAL TIMELINE
March 24, 2011
Nicole Trimboli signs a free-agent contract to return to the Racers for her 8th season of play in the NPF. Trimboli joined the Racers as a part of the 2004 NPF Supplemental Draft. She was a member of the Racers who won their first NPF Championship in 2005.
Sam Marder (2010 first-round draftee) signs a free-agent contract to play for the Racers in 2011.
July 2, 2011
Kristina Thorson turns in a gutsy performance against Cat Osterman and the USSSA Pride to notch a 2-1 decision over the first place Pride.
Racers turn the corner after a disappointing series against the Bandits to collect 6 victories out of final 10 games to move past the Bandits in the regular season race.
August 17, 2011
Three Racers were named to the All-NPF Team including pitcher Kristina Thorson, catcher Sam Marder and first baseman, Nicole Trimboli. Racers finished the regular season in second place with a 22-17 record. Thorson finished the regular season with a 9-3 record and a 2.12 ERA. Marder blasted seven homeruns en route to a .401 batting average, committing no errors behind the plate in 64 chances. Trimboli turned in a stellar performance at first base and in right field to earn yet another honor in her eighth season as a pro.
2012 HISTORICAL TIMELINE
In the first round of the 2012 NPF Senior Draft with the third overall pick the Racers selected shortstop Lexy Bennett from the University of Texas. The Racers selected in the second round and seventh overall pitcher Hillary Bach from Arizona State University. The Racers third round pick and thirteenth overall was University of Michigan third baseman Amanda Chidester. Local Ohio State shortstop Alicia Herron was the team first pick in the fourth round and 14th overall. With the very next pick they drafted Fordham University pitcher Jen Mineau. With the Racers final pick they selected California-Berkley outfielder Jamia Reid 19th overall in the fifth round.
May 5, 2012
Akron Racers third baseman Kelley Montalvo appeared on MTV hit show MADE. Montalvo was selected as a MADE coach for this episode and given the opportunity to mentor a young softball player who had aspirations of becoming a member of her high school softball team. In the episode of MADE, Montalvo discussed how she used softball to overcome some of her own personal issues. Montalvo’s mother was diagnosed with cancer in her senior season at Alabama.
June 23, 2012
The Akron Racers and Akron Beacon Journal recognized a group of honorees in an on-field pre-game ceremony in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Title IX legislation. In addition, the Racers gave the first 500 fans in attendance a medallion to commemorate the event. The Title IX event celebrated 40 female athletes, coaches and administrators.
October 30, 2012
Akron Racers GM, Joey Arrietta was awarded the Jodi Clark Award for her volunteer efforts at the Akron Race for the Cure. The Jodi Clark Award was in memory of Jodi who was a tremendous Komen volunteer. Clark was a member of the logistics committee for the 2011 Pink on Link events. Jodi unfortunately passed away two days before the Pink on Link event. Lauren Barbour who is the volunteer and event coordinator of the Susan G. Komen for Cure said in a statement, “we could have not done this event without Joey.”
2013 Historical Timeline
March 22, 2013
The Akron Racers signed the first ever Japanese player in Akron Racer history outfielder Ayumi Karino. Karino helped Japan win the gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Karino became second player from Japan to play in the NPF.
April 3, 2013
With the first overall selection in the 2013 NPF senior draft the Racers selected pitcher Rachele Fico out of LSU. In the second round, with the eighth overall pick, the Racers selected pitcher Ivy Renfore from the University of Tennessee. In the third round, with the ninth overall pick the Akron Racers chose Brianna Cherry, outfielder from Louisiana-Lafayette. With their fourth selection, and sixteenth overall the Racers drafted infielder Tess Sito from the University of Georgia. With their fifth and final selection the Akron Racers drafted Arizona’s 3B/SS Bridgette Del Ponte with the 16th overall pick.
May 15, 2013
The Racers re-signed pitcher Lisa Norris GM Joey Arrietta announced. Norris embarked on her fifth season in a Racer uniform with the deal, becoming the second longest tenured pitcher in team history.
June 5, 2013
The Racers announced that manager Eric Iverson stepped down for the 2013 season and assistant coach Ryan Phillips was named manager. They also announced the hiring of assistant coach Heidi Jordan.
June 6, 2013
The Racers announced that they had signed free agent slugger Charlotte Morgan, previously of the USSSA Pride. Morgan brought championship experience and leadership.
June 29 & 30, 2013
The Racers are celebrating their 12th anniversary on June 29-30 against the Chicago Bandits. In a statement from Owner/GM Joey Arrietta she said, “This is a fitting tribute to the players, fans, and the city of Akron, as the oldest existing team opens its 12th season of play,” GM Joey Arrietta said. Among the events that took place was a reunion of all players to join the 2013 Racers.
August 18, 2013
The Akron Racers beat the NY/NJ Comets in the final game of the regular season. The win capped a 16-32 season.
November 11, 2013
The Akron Racers announced the hiring of new manager Brian Levin. Prior to coaching the Racer, Levin managed the University of Missouri-St. Louis Tritons softball program. “Our search focused on finding someone that shared the vision for our program and the knowledge to get it done,” GM Joey Arrietta said.
December 10, 2013
The Racers hired Dustin Combs as their assistant manager the team announced today. Combs comes to the Racers as head coach of William Jewell University where his teams have competed against manager Brian Levin’s UMSL Tritons in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.
2014 HISTORICAL TIMELINE
January 27, 2014
Third baseman Kelley Montalvo and centerfielder Taylor Schlopy agreed to re-join the Racers for the 2014 season, establishing the start of the veteran leadership of the club.
February 3, 2014
The Akron Racers added versatility to their team in adding utility player Nadia Taylor for the 2014 season.
February 28, 2014
The Racers added Nerissa Myers to the roster in a trade with the Chicago Bandits. Akron sent catcher Kaylyn Castillo to Chicago in the deal.
April 3, 2014
With the third overall pick in the first round the Racers selected pitcher Hannah Campbell from the Universita of South Alabama. In the second round, Akron went back to the circle to choose Laura Winter from Notre Dame with the seventh overall selection. The Racers tabbed outfielder Jennifer Gilbert with the 10th overall pick in the third round. In the fourth round Akron chose shortstop Jill Barrett from the University of Tulsa with the 15th overall pick. With their final selection the Racers picked second baseman Ashley Thomas from Georgia Tech with the 18th overall choice in the fifth round.
May 28, 2014
The Racers announced the signing of rookie free agent pitcher Lannah Campbell for the 2014 season. Campbell is the twin sister of first round draft pick Hannah Campbell.
May 29, 2014
The Racers kicked off the 2014 season with a 4-0 shutout of the Chicago Bandits. Pitcher Rachele Fico tossed a one-hit shutout, retiring the last 19 batters she faced.
June 3, 2014
The Racers announced the signing of All-American pitcher Kaitlin Inglesby from the University of Washington. Inglesby is added to a pitching staff that also includes rookies Hannah Campbell, Lannah Campbell and Laura Winter.
June 10/August 9, 2014
On June 10th and August 9th the Racers celebrated 15 years of Fighting Breast Cancer. In honor of the Fighting Breast Cancer, the Racers decided to call the event Pink the Park Night. Charities of the 15 year funding raising campaign against breast cancer were a great success by reaching $140,000. Catching Cancer Before It Hits Home donated $15,155 to support Akron General Medical Center’s Muffins for Mammograms initiative.
August 22, 2014
The Akron Racers completed an upset of the second seeded Chicago Bandits to advance to the finals of the NPF Championship Series with a 1-0 win behind a complete game shutout by pitcher Lisa Norris and a solo home run by Jessica Garcia. The win marks the Racers first appearance in the finals of the Championship Series since they won the championship in 2005.
October 27, 2014
Firestone Stadium has been awarded the NSA Complex Award. The Racers have been an organization since 1999. The Akron Racers have held NSA travel tournaments, Slam Series I and II. Racers also hold high school events in April each year that features over 100 teams. The Akron Racers have hosted OHSAA Girls Softball Tournament since 2008. Eleven Mid-American Conference championships have been held at Firestone Stadium. In 2007, the Division II National Championship was played at Firestone Stadium.
2015 HISTORICAL TIMELINE
January 28, 2015
The Akron Racers traded two draft picks for seven-time All-NPF pitcher Sarah Pauly from the Pennsylvania Rebellion GM Joey Arrietta announced. Pauly, in her 10th season in the NPF, is the league record holder for wins in a career.
April 1, 2015
The Racers selected outfielder Morgan Estell in the third round with the 12th pick overall in the 2015 draft. With the 19th overall pick the Racers selected University of Kentucky catcher Griffin Joiner in the fourth round. In the fifth round, Akron used the 23rd overall selection to choose outfielder Shellie Robinson from South Carolina-Upstate. With their final pick the Racers tabbed infielder Megan Low in the sixth round (30th overall) out of the University of Texas-San Antonio.
June 18, 2015
The Akron Racers announced a $1.5 million ARC project to renovate Firestone Stadium. The 90-year old Firestone Stadium complex will receive a third field, a new club house, concession stand, picnic area and indoor training facilities which will include a full size infield for defensive practices.
August 8, 2015
Veteran pitcher Sarah Pauly achieved an unmatched feat in the NPF, becoming the first pitcher to win 100 career games. Pauly threw a shutout and the Racers defeated the Pennsylvania Rebellion 6-0.
October 29, 2015
The Akron Racers secured two-year contracts with third baseman Kelley Montalvo, centerfielder Taylor Schlopy and pitcher Sarah Pauly through the 2017 season. The trio provides leadership and guidance as the team seeks a championship.
November 3, 2015
The Akron Racers signed three players to two-year contracts further developing the future core of the team. Former Canadian National Team member and outfielder Jenn Gilbert, along with catcher Griffin Joiner and outfielder Shellie Robinson agreed to new deals. Joiner and Robinson are entering their second season in the NPF.
November 18, 2015
The Racers traded shortstop Jill Barrett to the Chicago Bandits in exchange for two draft picks and outfielder A.J. Andrews. Akron added a first round draft pick, the fourth overall, to go with their third overall selection and the 31st overall pick in the trade. Andrews’ speed became an asset for the Racers both offensively and defensively.
2016 HISTORICAL TIMELINE
January 18, 2016
The Racers announced that pitcher Laura Winter would be back for her third professional season in 2016. Winter missed all of her 2014 rookie season due to injury, but impressed in 2015 to come back for a third year.
January 24, 2016
The Racers added two more arms to their pitching rotation with contract extensions for Alison Owen and Aimee Creger. 2016 is Owen’s third season in the NPF, all with the Racers, while Creger enters her second season.
January 29, 2016
Coach Brian Levin will be guiding the Akron Racers for a third season the team announced. Levin headed up the 2014 NPF Coaching Staff of the Year in his first season with the team. Levin also coaches the University of Missouri-St. Louis Tritons.
February 4, 2016
The Akron Racers announced the contract extension of assistant field manager Dustin Combs. Combs joins field manager Brian Levin for each's third season coaching the Racers.
March 8, 2016
The Akron Racers kick off their celebration of their 15th Season of Play by announcing their first IMPACT honoree, pitcher Carla Brookbank-Schaal. The IMPACT honorees is a list of the 30 players who have had the most profound impact on the organization since the first team took the field in 1999. The honorees were announced one at a time from early March through early June 2016.
April 14, 2016
The Racers added eight players through the 2016 Senior Draft. In the first round, Akron added pitcher Jailyn Ford from James Madison University and infielder Sami Fagan the University of Missouri with the third and fourth overall picks, respectively. In the second round, the Racers tabbed infielder Alex Hugo from the University of Georgia with the 10th overall selection. Akron chose utility player Geri Ann Glasco (20th overall selection) from the University of Oregon and first baseman Sandra Simmons (23rd overall selection) from Louisiana State University in the fourth round. In the fifth round, the Racers tabbed Troy University catcher Hannah Day and University of South Alabama utility player Emily Messer with back-to-back picks. Akron's final selection of the draft cam in the sixth round when they made University of Missouri-St. Louis pitcher Hannah Perryman the first player drafted into the NPF from a Division II school.
June 9, 2016
Akron Racers second baseman Ashley Thomas played in her 100th consecutive game for the Racers, a 5-3 victory over the Pennsylvania Rebellion. Thomas appeared in every game of her Racers career.
June 10, 2016
Behind three runs scored by right fielder A.J. Andrews and four RBI from first baseman Sam Fischer, the Racers defeated the Pennsylvania Rebellion 10-6 to earn the Racers their 350th franchise victory.
July 11, 2016
Racers centerfielder Taylor Schlopy breaks the franchise record for runs scored in a career, previously held by Iyhia McMichael, with her 144th run scored in the Racers 2-0 victory over the Pennsylvania Rebellion.
August 1, 2016
With four home runs in a 7-3 win over the Dallas Charge, the Akron Racers break the single-season franchise home run record, which they would set at 57 by season's end. Second baseman Ashley Thomas and rookie Sam Fischer each hit one home run, while rookie shortstop Sami Fagan hit two home runs in the win.
August 6, 2016
Taylor Schlopy breaks the Akron Racers career hits record, previously held by Iyhia McMichael, with her 193rd career hit in a 6-5 loss to the Scrap Yard Dawgs.
August 12, 2016
In the final game of the regular season, rookie shortstop Sami Fagan tied the Racers single season franchise record with her 62nd hit of the season in a 4-3 loss to the USSSA Pride.
August 18, 2016
At the annual NPF Awards Banquet, right fielder A.J. Andrews became the first female recipient of the Rawlings Gold Glove Award, being honored with the NPF's top defensive award, that had previously only been awarded to Major League Baseball players. Shortstop Sami Fagan was also honored as the Rookie of the Year and catcher Griffin Joiner, third baseman Kelley Montalvo, centerfielder Taylor Schlopy and Fagan were all named to the All-NPF team.