AKRON, OH – Former Florida Gator, and 2008 NPF Defensives Player of the Year, catcher Kristen Butler checks in at #15 on the Racers 30 IMPACT honorees incredible list of pro athletes being recognized by the league’s oldest existing pro franchise. The Racers open their 15th Season of Play on June 8th against the Pennsylvania Rebellion.
“There is no hesitation on my part to include Kristen in this amazing collection of IPMACT players,” remarked GM Joey Arrietta. “Her superior defensive skills coupled with her enormous offensive output made her as complete a player as you can get at this level.”
Butler began her Racers career in 2006, coming out of the University of Florida as an undrafted free agent and immediately made her impact felt both offensively and defensively for Akron. Her offensive numbers speak for themselves, but Butler’s aggressive ability to gun down runners trying to steal is where she made her name in a league dominated by the best athletes in the world.
During her rookie campaign, Butler batted .229 on 27 hits, including five home runs, she also scored 11 runs and drove in 12 RBI, while committing just two errors.
Butler elevated her game in her second season, being named All-NPF for the first time in her career in 2007. Butler led or tied the Racers in four offensive categories: slugging percentage (.550), RBI (29), home runs (9) and doubles (5). Her five doubles finished tied for third in the NPF. She finished tied for fourth place in RBI and home runs.
In 2008, Butler’s defensive prowess was finally recognized as she became the first, and to this date the only, catcher to win the NPF Defensive Player of the Year award. Offensively, Butler led the Racers in hitting with a .317 average, including 39 hits, 10 home runs, 34 RBI and 15 runs scored. Butler played one more season in Akron in 2009, before playing the next two seasons internationally. Subsequently, Butler, played for three seasons, 2012-2014 with the Chicago Bandits.
Butler had a .249 batting average on 107 hits, including 16 doubles, 27 home runs, 44 runs and 86 RBI in her four-year career in a Racers uniform. Butler currently ranks second in most home runs and RBI in franchise history.
Butler and the other 29 IMPACT honorees will be recognized this summer, culminating in a weekend-long celebration July 15-17 when the Racers welcome the Dallas Charge to Firestone Stadium for a three-game series. The Racers will welcome back many of their former players to celebrate the history of the franchise, culminating in the pre-game presentation of the 30 IMPACT honorees on July 16th. Each honoree will receive a special commemorative jersey bearing their name and number.
2016 Akron Racers IMPACT Honorees (to date)
1. Carla Brookbank-Schaal 9. Radara McHugh
2. Crystl Bustos 10. Iyhia McMichael
3. Amy Kyler 11. Nicole Trimboli
4. Sarah Dawson 12. Brandee McArthur
5. Nicole Odom 13. Jenny Topping
6. Tobin Echo-Hawk 14. Oli Keohohou
7. Kellyn Tate 15. Kristen Butler
8. Kristin Johnson
About the Akron Racers: The Akron Racers, headquartered in Akron, OH, are the oldest existing team in the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) league, celebrating their 15th season of play in 2016. The Racers competed in the Women’s Pro Softball League (WPSL) for two seasons in 1999 and 2000 and in the NPF since 2004. Historic Firestone Stadium is home to the Racers and numerous amateur events at all levels of play.
About National Pro Fastpitch: National Pro Fastpitch is headquartered in Nashville, TN. The league, created to give elite female fast pitch players the opportunity to pursue a professional career in their chosen sport, has operated since 1997 under the names of Women’s Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Women’s Pro Softball League (WPSL). NPF is the official Development Partner of Major League Baseball in the category of women’s fast pitch softball since 2002. www.profastpitch.com.