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By: John Urchek
AKRON, OH – The crisp autumn air has begun to descend upon Northeast Ohio, but don’t fret softball fans as there is still plenty of action on the diamond at Firestone Stadium to keep you entertained.  The fall action begins on Friday, September 15 with a triple-header of collegiate softball competition.
The University of Akron Zips will open its fall schedule on Friday, facing off with Ashland University Eagles and rival Kent State University Golden Flashes.  Akron will take on the Eagles at 4:30 p.m., before meeting the Golden Flashes at 6:30 p.m.  Kent State and Ashland will cap off the evening with a game scheduled to start at 8:30 p.m.
The last time the Golden Flashes played at Firestone Stadium they overcame an earlier loss to the Ohio Bobcats to defeat Ohio 1-0 and 3-0 to win the 2017 Mid-American Conference Tournament and advance to the Waco Regional of the NCAA Tournament, led in part by 2017 Akron Racers rookie Maddy Grimm.
The Zips finished the 2017 campaign 30-27 and earned the seventh seed in the MAC Tournament, where they went 1-2 to wrap up their season.
Ashland finished this past season 30-23, advancing to the Championship Series of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletics Conference Tournament, which they lost 2-0 to Saginaw Valley State.  Grimm will return to Firestone Stadium as an assistant coach of the Eagles, a position that she was hired to late last month.
Admission to Friday’s games is $5 for adults and $3 for students.  All proceeds benefit the Akron Racers Charities fight against breast cancer.
Also, this coming weekend, Firestone Stadium will play host to the 2017 Rachel Arnold Memorial Tournament, a travel ball tournament holding five age brackets from 10 and under to 18 and under.  Among the teams taking part in the tournament will be 11 teams under the new Racers Youth Fastpitch program, which begins this fall as a part of the Akron Racers “Grassroots to the Pros” Initiative that began with the creation of the Racers in 1999.
This will be the first year for the Rachel Arnold Memorial Tournament, which was created in the honor of a mother of one of the players in the Racers Youth Fastpitch program who passed away due to ovarian cancer this past December.  The tournament aims to bring awareness to the fight against cancer.
Competition in the tournament will begin Friday, September 15 with four games being held at the Airport Fields in Ellet.  On Saturday and Sunday, Firestone Stadium and the Pony Field will hold a full slate of games with the first game beginning at 8:00 a.m. and the last game starting at 8:00 p.m. on each day, with a new game scheduled to begin every 90 minutes.  Some games will also be played at the Airport Fields and Diamond Crystal Field on Saturday and Sunday.  Daily admission to the tournament is $3 for adults and $1 for students.
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.  

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