Akelaitis is denied chance at milestone
At some point during this high school softball season, the story out of Northwestern Lehigh would have been about senior Anna Akelaitis reaching the 100-hit milestone for her career with the Lady Tigers. She would have come into the season needing just 25 hits and would have made it two straight seasons with an Akelaitis reaching the mark after her older sister Emily Akelaitis reached the milestone last season.
Instead, the season was first suspended and then canceled. When the season was suspended, Anna was like most people who figured it was just a simple glitch in the season and they would be back on the field before too long. Then as a couple weeks went by, she started to look around and see that the 2020 season just wasn’t going to happen.
“I was with Emily in Florida during her spring break,” said Anna Akelaitis. “She was upset because the college season had been canceled and I started thinking that the high school season wasn’t going to happen either.”
Finally, Northwestern head coach Josh Zimmerman delivered the official word that the season had been canceled. For Akelaitis, the thoughts didn’t turn immediately to her march toward 100 hits. Instead, she thought of other memories and opportunities that she was going to miss.
“It was really sad, and I started thinking about all of the fun times and all of the games that I was going to miss being with my teammates,” said Akelaitis. “We always work really hard, but it’s a lot of fun and to miss those memories from my senior season was really sad and that’s what I think about. Not getting to 100 hits is sad, but it’s not like it’s the end of the world. I just miss playing softball.”
Anna will follow Emily to Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, putting the two back on a softball field again next season. Anna will study biology and will be playing outfield for the Rams. For the past two seasons, she served as the Tigers’ catcher, with her older sister on the mound
In her freshman season Anna played center field. Coach Zimmerman had hinted that she would have been in center field for Northwestern Lehigh this season.
“We never really had anything official because the season didn’t start, but it would have been nice to be back in center field to have two seasons of catching and two seasons of outfield,” said Akelaitis. “Plus, it would have given me a little practice to be playing there in college.”
Among all the bad news that seniors have had to face about athletics, proms and graduations this spring, the Akelaitis sisters got good news in the form of an email from their college coach Mike Fegeley. The email was to inform the players that the school has decided that fall classes will be held on campus, which would allow her to get the full college experience rather than the online version that her older sister has had for the spring semester.
Anna Akelaitis has had the same adjustment to make with high school classes online, but noted that she misses being able to have real conversations in class.
For now, Anna Akelaitis is just trying to figure out how Northwestern’s virtual graduation will work and is commiserating with friends about the prom gowns they bought and have been unable to wear.
“It’s all been a weird experience, especially since it’s my senior year,” said Akelaitis. “I just keep looking ahead to getting through high school and going to college and everything that will be going on there.”