Akelaitis gets 100th hit
Emily Akelaitis has been stepping to the plate for Northwestern for four seasons now, but she has rarely thought more about an at-bat than she did about her first plate appearance on Monday against Notre Dame (Green Pond).
The Tiger senior thought about it before the game and she even thought about it when she headed to the mound to pitch the top of the first, which is unusual since she compartmentalizes hitting and pitching into completely separate categories.
Then again, this was no ordinary at-bat; this was the one where she would be going for hit number 100 in her high school career.
“I was super stressed out in the beginning,” said Akelaitis with a laugh. “I was thinking about it in warm-ups and thinking ‘what if I don’t get it?’ I’m glad to get it done.”
As it turns out, Akelaitis didn’t have to worry at all about getting that 100th hit against Notre Dame, as she banged out three hits and finished the game at 102 for her career, with six regular season games left to play.
Reaching the 100-hit plateau is quite an accomplishment in high school softball and for Akelaitis. It started slowly with a rough freshman season at the plate. Since then though, the senior pitcher has consistently picked up hits at a strong pace and reached the milestone with plenty of time left in her final season.
Akelaitis has taken the time to really think about the accomplishment and realizes that she has had a lot of help along the way.
“Not a lot of people reach that milestone and I’m glad that I was able to do that,” she said. “It’s not just me, it’s my parents and my sisters and my coaches and teammates.”
Her sister, Anna, has seen most of the hits on her sister’s journey. She’s also had the best seat in the house to watch Emily pitching, serving as the catcher on the team.
The younger Akelaitis sister, a junior, should have been paying attention to the hoopla surrounding Emily’s accomplishment because she figures to receive the same type of celebration as she also closes in on 100 hits. Following Monday’s 4-3 win over Notre Dame (6-7, 4-6), she stands at 69 hits for her career. The Akelaitis sisters combined to drive in all four of the runs against the Crusaders, with each sister driving in two.
“The kid is a true competitor,” said coach Josh Zimmerman of Emily’s accomplishment. “She’s a great team girl and never lets anybody get too high or too low on themselves and that’s really what I’m most proud of her for. She’s taken that roll as a senior and ran with it as a senior.
“Between her and Ashley [Sisco], our only two seniors, they’re doing a great job and you can’t say enough about them. Her offensive output has been there and she’s doing a great job on the mound. I couldn’t be happier for her to accomplish this.”
At 12-2 overall and 9-1 in the Colonial League, Northwestern has secured a spot in districts and is battling with Palmerton and Southern Lehigh for the West Division lead in the Colonial League. The team is focused on a long postseason run, something that would be special for Emily Akelaitis.