For the Ohio State softball team, the season is over. But one senior will trade away her Buckeyes uniform to represent a new team.
Catcher Sam Marder, Ohio State’s all-time home run and RBI leader, will suit up for the Akron Racers this summer in the National Pro Fastpitch league.
Marder was the seventh overall pick and first selection for Akron.
“I’ve been watching her play for four years and her work ethic and athleticism is unbelievable,” said Joey Arrietta, president and general manager for the Racers.
Though Marder is known for her hitting, Arrietta considered that a bonus when she drafted the two-time All-American.
“To make your pitching staff the best it can be, you need a great receiver on the other end,” Arrietta said. “I looked first at the catcher she was. You need to allow the pitcher to throw every type of pitch in her repertoire. I think we have a solid pitching staff and my job was to get the best catcher out there to help.”
Marder will face difficult competition as big names like Jennie Finch, Cat Osterman and Jessica Mendoza all play in the league. In fact, 10 out of the 17 players for the 2010 USA national team will be playing in the NPF.
Though Marder is facing tougher competition, Arrietta expects nothing less than a stellar performance this year from her starting catcher.
“I expect her to make a great transition from the collegiate game to our level,” she said. “I think she has had a significant amount of experience and I expect her to be part of that starting lineup and make an impact in our lineup.”
The league features four teams: the Chicago Bandits, Tennessee Diamonds, USSSA Pride and Akron Racers.
With four teams in the league, the five-round draft set-up only allows teams to pick the best seniors in college softball.
Marder will play under two-time Olympic Gold medalist Crystl Bustos. Bustos, who retired from the Racers this past summer, has agreed to be the field manager.
Marder will also have a chance to reunite with former OSU player Jamee Juarez. The combo played together in the 2006-2007 season.
Though Marder could not be reached to comment, she said earlier this season she is excited for the opportunity to play professional softball.
The excitement between Marder and the Racers is mutual.
“Four years ago I didn’t know if we were going to be able to get her into a Racers uniform,” Arrietta said. “Now that she is, I am extremely thrilled and can’t wait to see what she does for us.”