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Akelaitis gets 100th hit with PA Outlaws

While it won’t go down in the official Northwestern Lehigh softball records that Anna Akelaitis reached the 100-hit plateau for her career, the recent high school graduate showed what would have been. Facing pitchers who were often older than her, Akelaitis accomplished the feat as part of the PA Outlaws 23U team consisting generally of college players.

The hit came recently as the Outlaws competed in the Mid-Atlantic Travel Team Tournament at Camelot Park in East Greenville. Akelaitis lined a pitch through the middle for a base-hit and then went to second on a throw to the plate. The milestone hit was somewhat of a surprise for Akelatis, although she knew something was up because of hints that were given by her dad.

“He was saying stuff like ‘you need a hit today,’ and I just thought he was talking in general,” said Akelaitis, who officially needed 25 hits to reach the milestone. “I didn’t know he was counting down the hits that I needed, and I wasn’t keeping track. I knew I would have needed 20-something hits, but wasn’t sure where I was at.”

Even though Akelaitis didn’t know where the countdown stood, her teammates were aware. They were likely being kept up to date by older sister Emily, who graduated a year ahead of Anna. Younger sister Isabelle, who will be a freshman at Northwestern Lehigh this year, was also a member of the Outlaws and was on hand to witness the milestone.

“It was really good to get to play with both of them,” said Akelaitis of having her sisters as teammates with the Outlaws. Emily reached the 100-hit plateau during the 2019 season and Anna would have reached it during the 2020 season, which was canceled by the coronavirus. Younger sister Isabelle joins the Tigers next spring, giving coach Josh Zimmerman another Akelaitis player to help the team.

Many of the players on the Outlaws are more experienced college players who play for schools such as Moravian and Millersville. As an incoming college freshman, Akelaitis is on the younger side of the players on the team, which played in tournaments throughout the summer. It’s likely that most of the pitchers she faced were better than the competition she would have faced during the high school season.

Akelaitis is looking forward to playing college softball at Thomas Jefferson University next spring. For now, the school plans on having at least a conference schedule in the spring, but they have canceled their fall sports.

“It was nice to have the tournament team season since the high school season was canceled,” admitted Akelaitis. “We didn’t play every weekend, but we got to play, and it was great to be on the field again.”

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Anna Akelaitis missed an opportunity to get her 100th hit as a Northwestern Lehigh Tiger. She reached the milestone with her club team instead.