AKRON, OH – Akron Racers have signed the 2017 NCAA strikeout leader Megan Betsa to a three-year contract the team announced today. The Racers tabbed the former Michigan ace with the seventh overall selection in the second round of the 2017 NPF Draft in April.
Betsa led the Wolverines from the circle yet again in 2017, piling up a 25-10 record, with career bests in ERA (1.40), complete games (30), shutouts (12), innings (235.1), opponents’ batting average (.148) and strikeouts (412). It was Betsa’s third straight season with at least 300 strikeouts and her first with over 400 strikeouts.
“It was super exciting (to get drafted), I had no idea what to expect,” Betsa said. “It’s an awesome opportunity, I’ve always been a strikeout pitcher so that’s something I can still do. I know that it won’t be at the same rate that I did in college.
“Ultimately, I’m just here to help the Racers win and I’ll do whatever my role is.”
Betsa’s impressive career includes being the first Michigan pitcher to record three 300 strikeout seasons and the third to reach 1,000 career strikeouts behind Jennie Ritter (1,205) and Jordan Taylor (1,220). Betsa finished with 1,201 strikeouts. She also ranks in the top five in school history with 102 wins, 130 starts and 14 saves. She is a four-time All-Big Ten selection, including unanimous First Team selections in each of her final three collegiate seasons. Her individual achievements also led to great team success as Michigan won three Big Ten regular season championships, one Big Ten tournament championship and advanced to the Women’s College World Series twice, including a runner-up finish in 2015.
Betsa is a two-time Big Ten Pitcher of the Year, winning it in 2015 and 2016, and a two-time NFCA All-American, hoping for a third selection in 2017. In the two years that Betsa did not win Big Ten Pitcher of the Year, fellow Racer draftee Sara Groenewegen took the honor in 2014 and 2017.
Betsa arrived in Akron on Tuesday and is ready to jump straight into work as the Racers open the season on Thursday, June 1 at the Ballpark in Rosemont against the defending Cowles Cup champion Chicago Bandits.
“(Firestone Stadium) is awesome, it’s a lot bigger than I expected,” Betsa said. “I hope that the fans are as awesome as it looks like they’ll be.”
Akron will look to Betsa, along with fellow draftees Groenewegen (Minnesota) and Alexis Silkwood (Mississippi State) to provide a boost to a Racer pitching staff that includes 2016 third overall pick Jailyn Ford, free agent acquisition Emily Weiman and veterans Rachele Fico, Laura Winter and Aimee Creger as the team prepares for a run at the 2017 Cowles Cup.
About the Akron Racers: The Akron Racers, headquartered in Akron, OH, are the oldest existing team in the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) league. The Racers will celebrate their 16th season of play in 2017. 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 NPF affiliate teams consist of the Akron Racers, Beijing Shougang Eagles, Chicago Bandits, Scrap Yard Dawgs, Texas Charge and USSSA Florida Pride for the 2017 season. National Pro Fastpitch players hail from the United States, Australia, and Canada, among which are the most accomplished and talented athletes in the sport of women’s softball.