The Akron Racers professional softball team is back this summer for its 15th season. The Racers play in the six-team National Pro Fastpitch League. The Racers’ roster and those in the rest of the league are loaded with former college All-Americans, pro veterans and in some cases, former local college stars.
League stars include the likes of Monica Abbott, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest fastpitch pitchers in history. A former Olympian, she’s playing this season for the Scrap Yard Dawgs, of Conroe, Texas. Abbott’s fastball has been clocked as high as 77 miles per hour.
“This is the best-kept sports secret in northeast Ohio,” said Joey Arrietta, the Racers owner and general manager.
A Racers game is a sensory experience.
There’s not a bad seat in the house. You can buy a box of popcorn for $1. Players from both teams line up along the right field foul line fence after every game to sign autographs and pose for photos with fans. A family of four can enjoy a night at the park, with modest frills for less than $50.
“We started in 1999 with a $7 ticket and that same $7 ticket still exists,” Arrietta said.
The Racers offer a variety of promotion nights, as well as two afternoon games this season that feature $5 tickets, complete with a hot dog, chips and a soft drink. And the team has other discount options for groups of 25 or more and other packages, including picnics and birthday events.
Aside from serving as the Racers’ home field, the 91-year-old stadium is a hotspot for amateur softball. It hosts youth and college tournaments, as well as the Ohio High School Athletic Association state championships.
For more information about the Racers, or to view a season schedule, visit akronracers.org.
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