TUSCALOOSA, AL – Akron Racers right fielder A.J. Andrews made history Thursday night at the annual National Professional Fastpitch Awards Banquet. Since 1957, the Rawlings Gold Glove Award has been given to the best player at each position in Major League Baseball every year. This season the NPF and Rawlings combined to give a Gold Glove Award to the best defender in the league, regardless of position.
After making outstanding plays all season, Andrews beat out teammate Kelley Montalvo, Chicago Bandits first baseman Brittany Cervantes and Dallas Charge catcher Kaylyn Castillo to become the first woman to win a Gold Glove Award.
The speedy Andrews showed exceptional range all season, seemingly keeping any ball hit to right field within her reach and coming away catch after catch that robbed hitters of would be base hits and home runs alike. Andrews was perfect defensively, not committing a single error in 43 attempts.
Andrews not only exhibited the ability to consistently make the simple plays, but added some of the best catches of the season to the league’s highlight reel this year. On back-to-back nights in July Andrews robbed USSSA Pride hitters Chelsea Goodacre and Sierra Romero, first by running down a ball in the corner near the right field foul line before laying out to snag a sure extra base hit out of the air, and then by positioning herself at the wall to grab a would be home run just before falling through the collapsible fence.
Then in the final week of the season Andrews once again robbed a Pride slugger, this time soaring over the right field fence to corral a Shelby Pendley fly ball to end the inning.
In addition to winning the Gold Glove Award, Andrews also came away with a share of the Rally Spikes Award for tying Chicago speedster Sammy Marshall for the most stolen bases in the league with 15 this year.
Andrews and the rest of the Racers begin their NPF Championship Series Semifinal against the top-seeded Pride Friday, August 19, at Rhoads Stadium on the University of Alabama campus in Tuscaloosa. The three-game series begins at 9:00 p.m. ET with the first game available on NPF TV. The final two games of the series will take place Saturday, August 20, and will be available on CBS Sports Network. Game times are scheduled for 3:00 p.m. 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.