By Marty Gitlin
AKRON, OH--In her search for a new field manager, Akron Racers President/General Manager Joey Arrietta looked for someone who would share her vision.
She sought a coach who emphasized speed offensively and defensively. She sought a coach with an enthusiastic approach. She sought a coach who could relate well to her players. She sought a proven winner.
Enter Shonda Stanton.
The highly successful Marshall University coach has indeed been signed as the Racers new field manager. Stanton is the first Thundering Herd coach to reach 200 career victories. Her teams won Mid-American Conference championships in both 2003 and 2005. She was selected MAC Coach of the Year in 2003.
But it was Stantons passion for fast-paced softball that intrigued Arrietta, who has assembled a team that fits the mold.
I have assembled a team that will be really aggressive, Arrietta says. The running game can be very exciting. Teams that go with the long ball tend to live and die with the long ball. We wont be missing power in the lineup. We have hitters with power. But it wont encompass our offensive game. Defensively, were going to have the quickest outfield in the league. And I think were going to dominate in stolen bases.
Shonda is exactly the kind of coach I wanted. She likes the short game. She likes the bunt and the bunt-and-run. She knows how to manufacture runs with speed and the ability to run. Plus she has a lot of energy. Theres a lot of excitement in her as a field
manager. I think that her excitement will inspire our players. Were going to take chances on the bases. Were going to push the game.
Those could have been Stantons exact words. She also spoke about utilizing speed to create offense and shut down opponents.
Joey has done an excellent job assembling a championship team, Stanton says. Im very competitive. I took this position to win. Its a huge opportunity for me to let the players play and play with a lot of passion. Im pretty fiery. I like to play aggressively and take the extra base. Were going to do a lot of hit-and-run and were going to steal a lot of bases. Our outfield is one of the best. And we have a very quick lineup.
Arrietta nabbed three speedsters in the 2007 National Pro Fastpitch draft. She selected versatile University of Oklahoma stolen base artists Norelle Dickson and University of Georgia outfielder Kellie Middleton in the first round before taking University of Tennessee outfielder India Chiles in the third round.
Considering the Racers tremendous success, which includes the 2005 NPF title, it didnt take long for Stanton to accept the offer.
Joey does things first class, so I jumped at it, admits Stanton, who graduated from North Olmsted High School and whose parents and both brothers live in the Cleveland area. Joey has a commitment to excellence. She has a passion for the game and a passion for the players. Plus this gives me an opportunity to coach the best athletes in the country.
Stanton arrived at Marshall after revitalizing the Indiana University-Purdue University of Indianapolis program. She inherited a team that finished 8-20 and guided it to a
27-25 record and a berth in the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament semifinal.
She was also an All-Big South pick as a four-year starter at UNC-Greensboro, scoring 66 runs as a senior, which ranked eighth in the nation.
Stanton and husband Joe live in Huntington, W.V., with daughters Shayla (age 3) and Gianna, born on Sept. 11, 2006.
Akron Racers Media Contact: Ms. Joey Arrietta
, Ph: 330-376-8188, Fax: 330-376-8348520.296.9595