AKRON, OH – Coming out of an open tryout last Friday, May 26, the Akron Racers announced the signing of Chandler Rice (Toledo) and Kristen Wyckoff (South Florida) for the 2017 season. Both players were infielders during their respective collegiate careers.
Rice finished this season leading the MAC with 76 hits, 132 total bases, 216 plate appearances, and 194 at bats. She also led the Rockets this season in batting average (.392), at bats (194), runs (49), doubles (16), triples (2), home runs (12), RBI (39), slugging percentage (.680), on-base percentage (.454), stolen bases (21), and fielding percentage (.992).
“I wanted to give it a shot. I wanted to just go out there and try and I knew that if I didn’t go out there and try, that I would regret it later,” Rice said. “So, I gave my all and I’m here now, so I’m so excited and I’m so grateful for the opportunity that the Racers have given me.”
Rice wrote her name all over the Rocket record book, including single season records for total bases and runs this season. She also holds career records with a .531 slugging percentage, 50 doubles and 365 total bases. Rice was named the MAC Player of the Week five times throughout her career and was twice an All-MAC First Team selection. Rice, who was coached in college by former Akron catcher Kristen Butler, will be the first athlete from Toledo to play in the NPF.
“I was just so excited, so extremely excited and I knew that this was going to be a great, new journey for softball for me,” expressed Rice.
Wyckoff ended her senior season, after missing 17 games due to a fractured left hand early in the season, leading the Bulls with the seventh best batting average in school history (.400), and a .483 slugging percentage, .447 on-base percentage and 17 stolen bases. During her senior season, she achieved an 11-game hit streak. Wyckoff also had 16 multiple hit games, along with being the only player to record a four-hit game for South Florida this season.
“The tryout was really nice, just to be able to get the opportunity to play in this league,” reflected Wyckoff. “It was very exciting, and a dream come true.”
Wyckoff finished with 81 career stolen bases, second all-time in program history, and a .383 batting average, the fourth highest for the Bulls. She was also named an All-American Athletic Conference honoree for the third time in her career.
“I really just want to do whatever the team needs me to do, basically,” Wyckoff said about the upcoming season. “I'm willing to do anything. I have a lot of speed, so hopefully I can utilize that for the team.”
Both Rice and Wyckoff are enthusiastic to make their appearance in the NPF, starting on June 1, with the season opener at the Ballpark in Rosemont against the Chicago Bandits. The addition of the two players will add high energy and depth to the Racers’ roster for the upcoming season.
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.