June 1, 2016
AKRON, Ohio – Former Yellow Jacket and two-time All-ACC shortstop Ashley Thomas was named an IMPACT Honoree by the Akron Racers of the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) organization on Wednesday. As part of the Racers’ 15th Season of Play celebration, the Racers are unveiling the 30 players who have defined professional softball’s oldest existing franchise. Thomas is the 28th selection in the series after just two seasons with the Racers.
When GM Joey Arrietta told Thomas the plan for her in Akron was to switch to second base, she never blinked, Thomas did what was best for the team and has produced at a high level daily as a second baseman going into her third year with the team.
“On the very first day of practice Ashley lined up at short,” recalled Arrietta. “I motioned her to move to second base and the rest is history. Ashley never questioned my decision and turned in an All-NPF season in her rookie year.”
Thomas was chosen in the fifth round with the 18th overall selection by Arrietta in 2014. In her rookie season, Thomas was named to the 2014 All-NPF Team while placing third on the team with a .326 batting average and 42 hits. Thomas also scored 25 runs, drove in 15 RBI and hit five home runs and played in every game during her rookie campaign. Thomas also posted a .944 fielding percentage as a rookie.
This past season, Thomas again played in all 48 Racer games. Thomas batted .271 on 36 hits, while plating 20 base runners and scoring 18 runs. She hit three doubles and four home runs.
In two years with the Racers, Thomas has quickly ascended Akron’s record books. Entering just her third season, Thomas is within striking distance of the top 10 of most offensive accumulative statistical categories. With 43 runs already, she needs to score just eight this season to move into the top 10. Her 78 hits have her just 19 away from that mark as well. Four more home runs added to the nine Thomas has already hit would place her 10th and 19 RBI in addition to her current total of 35 would place her in the same territory.
Thomas also has a batting average of .298, a slugging percentage of .420 and an on-base percentage of .338, to go with five doubles and six stolen bases. Without question in just two short seasons, Thomas has clearly etched her name into Racers history.
Thomas and the 29 other IMPACT honorees being revealed will be recognized in a weekend of celebration July 15-17 when the Racers welcome the Dallas Charge to Akron. The honorees and other former players will be in town for the festivities, the highlight of which will be a ceremony to honor them in which they will receive a personalized commemorative jersey with their name and number.
2016 Akron Racers IMPACT Honorees (to date)
- Carla Brookbank-Schaal 9. Radara McHugh 17. Angela Tincher 25. Nerissa Myers
- Crystl Bustos 10. Iyhia McMichael 18. Norelle Dickson 26. Charlotte Morgan
- Amy Kyler 11. Nicole Trimboli 19. Jackie Pasquerella 27. Rachele Fico
- Sarah Dawson 12. Brandee McArthur 20. Lisa Modglin 28. Ashley Thomas
- Nicole Odom 13. Jenny Topping 21. Lisa Norris
- Tobin Echo-Hawk 14. Oli Keohohou 22. Sam Marder
- Kellyn Tate 15. Kristen Butler 23. Jill Barrett
- Kristin Johnson 16. Veronica Wootson 24. Ayumi Karino
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.
Courtesy of AkronRacers.org