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Sports

Akron Racers heading home for big weekend of events

6/27/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

SOUTH AKRON — The Akron Racers opened the season June 5 and have spent three consecutive weeks on the road — traveling from Illinois to Texas, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. On June 27, the softball team will finally play at home for the first of 27 games at Firestone Stadium this summer.

The Racers will play at home June 27-29, with special events scheduled for all three days, including a day-night doubleheader that will air on ESPN2.

June 27 will be Hillary Bach Night, honoring one of nine finalists for the 2012 NCAA Woman of the Year award. That day also will feature the Racers’ home debut of 2008 Olympic gold medalist Ayumi Karino from Japan, and there will be a magnet schedule giveaway courtesy of Four Corner Promotions. The game will start at 7:05 p.m.

June 28 will be Subway Night, with area Subway restaurants giving away coupons for free tickets to the game, which starts at 7:05 p.m.

And on June 29, the Racers will host “Pink the Park,” a day/night doubleheader with both games carried live on ESPN2. The first game will begin at 1 p.m., and admission is $5 for stadium tickets. Fans will be able to designate one of three charities to benefit from their ticket purchase: Akron General Medical Center’s Muffins for Mammograms; 2013 Akron Race for the Cure; or Stewart’s Caring Place. The second game, slated for 8 p.m., is Bridgestone America’s Night at Firestone Stadium, and stadium tickets for this game also will be $5.

According to team co-owner and General Manager Joey Arrietta, there have been some big roster changes for the Racers since last season, including the loss of veteran players Lisa Modglin (outfield), Sharonda McDonald (outfield), Nicole Trimboli (first base), Nicole Pauly (second base) and Kristina Thorson (pitcher).

“They were All-NPF [National Pro Fastpitch] performers throughout their careers. We lost a lot of years of experience in the league, and that is tough to replace,” she said. “We had some other players — including Megan Bush (first base), Alicia Herron (shortstop) and Jamia Reid (outfield) — who were slated for significant roles in 2013 that did not return this season. A lot of the grooming you do with players in their first year or two is critical to your success moving forward. So, it was back to the drawing board this season.”

One key returning player this season is pitcher Lisa Norris, who will look to return to form after suffering through an injury-plagued 2012.

“Lisa Norris returns for her fifth season and will play a key role in helping our young pitching staff adjust to the pro game,” Arrietta said.

Two additional key players who returned this season are Kelley Montalvo, the NPF co-defensive player of the year, and Sam Marder, the NPF offensive player of the year after batting .343 with eight home runs and 27 RBIs.

“This is the first time in NPF history that two players from the same team captured the top two league awards,” Arrietta said.

To celebrate the occasion, the Racers will honor each player with a special giveaway during an upcoming home game.

Kelley Montalvo Night is set for July 10 and Sam Marder Night is Aug. 5. The Racers will give away a bobble-head figure of each player during their respective nights.

Other special events planned for this season include Mascot Mania Aug. 11 and Marathon Night Aug. 15 (a mini-gas pump giveaway).

For most Racers games, stadium and terrace tickets are $7, VIP seats are $8 and club seats are $10.

“This is a great entertainment value,” Arrietta stated. “At less than the cost of a movie ticket, you get to see the best players in the world — players who just finished their collegiate careers on television in the [Women’s College World Series] — including Brianna Turang (from the title-winning University of Oklahoma), who stunned viewers with her 11.5 second dash from home to home, and (the University of Tennessee’s) Ivy Renfroe, whose stellar performance advanced the Lady Vols into the championship series. You have two of the best players in the league wearing Akron uniforms in Montalvo and Marder. The concessions are affordable, and there’s no better place to watch a game than historic Firestone Stadium. And there’s no fee for parking. I’m not sure it gets any better for a family of four — or anyone for that matter.”

For more information on the Racers’ schedule or tickets, visit www.akronracers.org.

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