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Akron Racers Head Coach Announces Resignation

DENVER, July 21 - The Women's Pro Softball League (WPSL) announced Wednesday that Akron Racers Head Coach Michael Bastian has resigned for personal reasons. Racers General Manager and former University of Akron Head Softball Coach Joey Arrietta has been named as Bastian's replacement.

"Michael brought a great deal of enthusiasm and softball expertise to the Akron Racers," WPSL Director of Game Operations Hildred Deese said. "We appreciate the leadership he provided as one of the league's first full-time head coaches and wish him the very best in his future endeavors."

Bastian posted a record of 22-22 (.500) in 44 career games as the first full-time head coach of the Racers. Akron currently trails the first-place Tampa Bay FireStix by two games in the WPSL standings. Arrietta will make her WPSL head coaching debut Thursday, July 22 when the Racers battle the Georgia Pride in the first game of a four-game weekend series at South Commons Softball Stadium in Columbus, Ga.

"Joey is the natural selection to assume interim coaching duties for Akron," Deese said. "She established a nationally competitive softball program at the University of Akron, where she coached her team to 12 winning seasons. I am confident that Joey will continue the winning tradition of the Akron Racers."

Arrietta spent 12 years (1978-1989) as the head softball coach at the University of Akron, where she led the Zips to an overall record of 359-135-5. The Akron, Ohio native was named the NCAA Division II Mid-Atlantic Regional Softball Coach of the Year in 1985 and the NCAA Division II Central Regional Softball Coach of the Year in 1984. Arrietta was also inducted into the Summit County Sports Hall of Fame in 1996. She will continue to act as general manager of the Racers in addition to her head coaching duties.

"It is always an awkward situation to replace a head coach in mid-season, but the WPSL is very fortunate to have a multi-talented individual, like Joey, who is willing and able to step in on such short notice," WPSL Senior Director of Business Affairs Jeff Mercer said. "As general manager, she will continue to concentrate on marketing and public relations duties and she will rely on league personnel and members of her staff for more day-to-day operational support. The league is confident that Joey will be able to continue her intense marketing efforts and take on the added responsibility of coaching the Racers for the rest of the 1999 season."

The WPSL, the world's premier professional fastpitch softball league for women, consists of six teams located in the Eastern United States and features former USA Softball Women's National Team members, collegiate All-Americans and all-conference selections. The WPSL's 66-game regular-season schedule began Thursday, May 13 and concludes Sunday, Aug. 22. The 1999 season features the second annual WPSL All-Star Game, the inaugural WPSL Championship Semifinal and the third annual WPSL Championship Series.