Denver, CO – National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) League Commissioner, Cheri Kempf announced today that the Akron Racers will host the 2009 NPF Championship Series. The dates for the event are Thursday August 20th through Sunday August 23rd, with Opening Ceremonies, Battle of the Bats Finals and Fan Appreciation Day on Wednesday August 19th.
For the past two seasons, the NPF Championship Series has been hosted by Cardinal Youth Softball at a neutral site in Kimberly, Wisconsin. However, in an attempt to centralize the Championship geographically and to grow the fan-base of the Series, the League office has decided to try the well-attended and city-supported venue of the Akron Racers in Akron, Ohio.
“We are pleased the Akron Racers have helped make this possible again for our city. Our community is proud of these young women and the Racers organization who have made many contributions and created new opportunities for the people of Akron; especially our children. We know the 2009 NPF Championships will be a terrific value in entertainment and a wonderful experience for the players who get to enjoy one of the finest facilities in the nation,” commented Akron’s Mayor, Don Plusquellic.
The Akron Racer’s General Manager and co-owner, Joey Arrietta commented on the announcement , "On behalf of the Akron Racers, players, coaches and fans, we are proud to welcome the 2009 NPF Championship to Akron and historic, Firestone Stadium. We will do our very best to make this a memorable event for everyone involved.”
The Akron Racers will be celebrating their 10th season of professional softball in 2009. They have one NPF Championship to their credit – a 2005 win in the championship game over the Chicago Bandits.
This will be the third professional Championship-type event to be hosted by the Racers. Akron was the host site in 1999 for the WPSL Championship and again in 2004 for the first year of NPF Championships Series. Akron was also the site for the first ever WPSL All-Star game in 1998.
“I have personally witnessed the support and enthusiasm of the Akron area fans, who are an impressive group,” said NPF Commissioner/President, Cheri Kempf. “The city of Akron has supported professional Women’s fastpitch softball for many years and I am proud to say they will host the most exciting women’s fastpitch event of the year, in their venue! I am confident that all of our teams, along with their fans will enjoy the 2009 Series in Ohio.”
The NPF’s 100-game season is structured to crown a regular season Champion. The top four placing teams in the regular season standings will then play in the NPF Championship Series.
NPF will feature a new Championship Format in 2009 having two, best-of-three Semi-Final Series (1 vs. 4 and 2 vs. 3) with the winners moving onto a best-of-three Championship Series. The Semi-Finals will feature two games on Thursday, August 20, Friday, August 21 and, if necessary, games on Saturday afternoon, August 22 to conclude the series.
The Championship round will begin the evening of Saturday, August 22 and conclude with a possible two games on Sunday, August 23. The Chicago Bandits captured both the regular season Championship and the Championship Series titles in 2008. Plans are forthcoming for streaming video and national television coverage of the NPF Championship Series.
Additional information on each team's schedule and season ticket specials can be found by navigating to their individual websites from www.profastpitch.com. Championship Series ticket information will be available through the Racers website in early 2009 at www.akronracers.org.
Major League Baseball is the Official Development Partner of National Pro Fastpitch in the category of women's professional fastpitch softball. The partnership, which began in the fall of 2002, is part of Commissioner Selig's Initiative on Women and Baseball, a league-wide effort to help Major League Baseball and the 30 Major League Clubs build stronger relationships with female audiences.
About National Pro Fastpitch
National Pro Fastpitch is headquartered in Denver, Colorado. The league, created to give elite female fastpitch players the opportunity to pursue a professional career in their chosen sport, has operated since 1997 under the names Women's Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Women's Pro Softball League (WPSL). The six member teams are the Akron Racers, Chicago Bandits, New England Riptide, Philadelphia Force, Rockford Thunder and Washington Glory.