Western Kentucky University softball player Olivia Watkins is continuing her playing career after signing on to play with the Akron Racers, the organization announced Wednesday.
Watkins becomes the first player in program history to play with the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) league after finishing her career on The Hill as the all-time leader in batting average (.380), stolen bases (117) and stolen bases attempts (129).
“Olivia brings a whole new dimension to our offense,” Racers General Manager Joey Arrietta said. “She’s exciting to watch, and she’s very solid defensively.”
Watkins finished her college career in 2014 by setting numerous single-season school records, including batting average (.442), runs (51), hits (87) and stolen bases (55) while she led the nation in stolen bases and top 15 nationally in batting average. The Florence, Ala., native was caught stealing just three times in her 58 attempts this past season while going 21-for-21 in swiped bags against league opponents. Additionally, Watkins struck out only 13 times in 197 at-bats.
The second baseman was also named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-Central Region Third Team in 2014 and First-Team All-Sun Belt Conference for the second-straight year. She received First-Team All-Region honors in 2013 after hitting .378 with 49 runs and 38 stolen bases.
Watkins joins an Akron team with familiar Sun Belt Conference faces, as Louisiana-Lafayette’s Nerissa Meyers and Brianna Cherry are on the roster while South Alabama’s Hannah Campbell was drafted by the Racers in this year’s draft. WKU assistant coach Aja Paculba also played for the Racers for two seasons.
The Akron Racers, headquartered in Akron, Ohio, are the oldest existing team in the NPF. 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. The Racer kick-off their 13th season of play in 2014. For more information about the Akron Racers, visit akronracers.org.