TUSCALOOSA, AL – On the eve of the NPF Championship Series, the Akron Racers were well represented at the annual NPF Awards Banquet as shortstop Sami Fagan and right fielder A.J. Andrews led a group of five Racers to take home honors on the night. Fagan was named the NPF Rookie of the Year, while Andrews became the first softball player to ever win a Rawlings Gold Glove award.
After being selected with the fourth overall pick out of the University of Missouri in the 2016 NPF Draft, Fagan proceeded to excel on a nightly basis, posting the highest batting average (.392), most hits (62) and most RBI (39) by a rookie in the NPF since 2004. Fagan’s 62 hits tied an Akron single-season franchise record with Iyhia McMichael in the 2005 season, and tied for the league lead with USSSA Pride outfielder Kelly Kretschman. Fagan also tied for the league lead with 10 doubles.
In addition to those numbers, Fagan also led all NPF rookies with a .652 slugging percentage, .430 on-base percentage, 34 runs scored and 103 total bases. For her performance, Fagan was also named the All-NPF shortstop.
Andrews was awarded with the league’s top defensive honor for her outstanding abilities. Andrews was perfect in the outfield, converting all of her 43 opportunities with 42 putouts and one assist, while covering more territory than any other NPF outfielder. Andrews made fantastic catches a common occurrence, running down fly balls to make diving catches or soaring over the fence to snag home runs out of the sky.
Andrews also earned a share of the Rally Spikes Award after tying the Chicago Bandits’ Sammy Marshall with 15 stolen bases. Andrews successfully stole 15 bases on her 16 attempts this season.
Joining Fagan on the All-NPF team were catcher Griffin Joiner, third baseman Kelley Montalvo and outfielder Taylor Schlopy.
Joiner led the NPF with 13 base stealers out of 40 thrown out and 249 putouts. Joiner’s 32.5% of base stealers thrown out helped the Racers lead the NPF in that category with a team 28.9 average.
Montalvo earned the spot as the third baseman on the All-NPF team after turning in another fantastic defensive season. Montalvo finished third in the entire league with 84 assists, recording more than one-quarter of her team’s assists this season, showing her range to scoop up ground balls all over the left side of the infield. Montalvo posted a .978 fielding percentage this year, which was second among primary third basemen.
Along with commanding the centerfield spot defensively for Akron, Schlopy finished tied for first in the league with 10 doubles with Fagan and the Scrap Yard Dawgs Nerissa Myers and tied for third in the NPF with Fagan with 34 runs scored. Schlopy also posted a .282 batting average, 42 hits, including nine home runs and 27 RBI, while being the only Racer to play in all 50 games this season.
Akron begins its three-game series with the top-seeded Pride in the NPF Championship Series Semifinals Friday, August 19 at 9:00 p.m. ET at Rhoads Stadium on the campus of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Games Two and Three of the series will be Saturday, August 20 at 3:00 p.m. ET and 9:00 p.m. ET.
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 (NPF)
National Pro Fastpitch (NPF), an Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball since 2002, provides elite female athletes with an opportunity to pursue a professional career in diamond sports beyond their collegiate success. The 2016 NPF season will be televised on CBS Sports Network. Coverage includes the NPF College Draft presented by Bownet on Thur., April 14, followed by 23 regular-season games, a Championship Series Preview Special and the 2016 NPF Championship Series. The NPF recently announced that the Scrap Yard Dawgs, located in The Woodlands, Texas, will join the Akron Racers, Chicago Bandits, Dallas Charge, Pennsylvania Rebellion and USSSA Florida Pride for the 2016 season. National Pro Fastpitch players hail from the U.S., Australia, Canada, Japan, the Netherlands and New Zealand, representing the most accomplished and talented athletes in the sport of women’s softball.
Note to Media
Photos and b-roll of players is available. Interviews with the league commissioner are welcomed, and top players from each team are accessible immediately. If you’re interested in pursuing story angles about professional softball for women, please don’t hesitate to contact us.