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NPF Player in the Spotlight: Week 14 Presented by Boombah

One of any athlete’s worst fears is an injury. Ranging anywhere from a twisted ankle to a broken arm, the training room and medical facilities are places athletes tend to not want to be. In the unfortunate circumstance that an injury does occur; perseverance and hard work are an athlete’s best friend. Getting back on the court or field is the only thing on their mind. Akron Racers, Micaela Minner has experienced this first hand during the NPF off season.

She had a standout career at the University of Missouri from 2006-2009. During her college career, she finished third all-time in batting average (.357), third in career hits (230), first in career doubles (55), third in career home runs (40), fifth in runs scored (142), third in career RBI (180), second in slugging percentage (.631) and second in career walks (95). She also sits second all-time in single-season slugging percentage (.781 - 2005), doubles (18-2007), home runs (17-2005) and fourth in walks (33-2007). In recognition of her achievements on the field and in the classroom, she was selected as Missouri’s softball representative to the University of Missouri All-Decade team, which is comprised of one standout from each of the university’s athletic teams from the years 2000 through 2009.

Professionally, she was selected 18th in the 2009 NPF College Draft by Akron but was unable to play because of injuries which included a torn labrum in her shoulder, a broken left fibula and a partially torn ACL. But, last season, 2010, she was hitting .341, which was fourth in the league and the highest average on her team, the Akron Racers. She also led her team in slugging percentage at .545 and hit a tie-breaking two-run home run in the top of the ninth inning to lead Akron over the Chicago Bandits, 5-3 in Chicago on July 8, 2010. It was her second home run of the season, before she was sidelined by more injury during the NPF Championship Series.

Minner is excited for the upcoming season and getting back out on the field…

Q: You had surgery on your knee during the NPF off-season, how is that coming along?
Minner: I dislocated my kneecap, tore my ACL, both meniscus, and cartilage during the Championship Series last season. I had surgery in October 2010 and my knee is coming along very well. I am running and almost ready to start side to side and twisting motions.I have been rehabbing 3 times a day and working out with a trainer 4 days a week.  It feels very strong and I'm looking forward to playing this season! Determination is key!

Q: You have signed to play again in Akron, what are you most looking forward to for 2011?
Minner: I'm looking forward to the hard competition, the camaraderie of being a part of a team, and traveling to some new exciting places to play ball. It seems as though the dynamic of a team will change each year, so I'm excited to experience this new season with a new team. With regard to playing against the other three teams in the League, we play each other plenty of times. Therefore, I look forward to fighting in between the lines knowing that when it is all said and done, and outside the lines, I do have good friends on the other teams.

Q: What does it mean to be apart of the NPF?
Minner: Given the fact that there are only four teams in the League, I am amongst the best players in the world and am very thankful I have the opportunity to compete at this level. So being a part of the NPF is an honor and experience that I refuse to take for granted.

Q: Who has been your mentor for softball and why?
Minner: My mom and dad have both been my mentors in softball. My dad was my baseball coach and taught me how to play the game growing up as a kid and my mom was the score keeper. They were both major factors surrounding my die hard love for the game. They gave me the opportunity to play by allowing me to play on travel teams, support my temper tantrums when I lost (ex. argue with each other as to who would drive me home), and give me the best advice in sports along with life in general. I would give them the world if I could.

Q: What is your favorite vacation spot?
Minner: If I could vacation anywhere and do anything I wish, I would bring friends and rent out the biggest and best roller coaster amusement park. I would ride around in a golf cart right up to the front of every line, no waiting, and ride every ride over and over at night while a four hour firework show lit up the sky.  

Q: If someone picked up your Ipod, what would be the first three songs playing?
Minner: Flow by Dub FX ft. Woodnote (A beat boxer from Europe)
Bring Me Flowers by Hope
Rolling In the Deep by Adele

Q: Being able to play post-college...what has that meant to you?
Minner: I am extremely thankful that my past injuries haven't prevented me from having this opportunity. I am blessed and give many thanks to Ehren Earleywine for all he did for me at the University of Missouri. I wouldn't be where I'm at today if he hadn't become my coach in 2007.

Q: Describe to us what the NPF Fans are like?
Minner: In general, NPF fans are absolutely amazing! In Akron, OH specifically, we have very loyal fans and average over 1000 fans on a Friday or Saturday. It's really cool to hear them rooting for you as you come up to the plate. Signing autographs after every game is also another awesome aspect of the NPF fans. I'm still trying to master the perfect autograph. I'm still trying to decide where in my autograph to write my number, I keep changing my mind.

Q: What are your nicknames?  Any good stories behind them?
Minner: I've been called "Mic" or "Minner" for the most part of my life. I haven't had any nicknames that I can remember that might have stuck or any funny stories behind them. Maybe "crazy Micaela" haha.

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