LAS CRUCES, N.M. (May 31) - The New Mexico State softball team's career home run leader, Hoku Nohara, recently signed a contract to play professional softball with the Akron Racers of the National Professional Fastpitch (NPF) League.
Nohara led the nation in home runs in 2011, hitting 24 pitches out of the ballpark. She becomes the first Aggie to play professional softball in the NPF. Nohara is the most recent Western Athletic Conference (WAC) player to join the league, following in the footsteps of Amberly Waits (LA Tech, 2010) and Kate Robinson (Hawai'i, 2008).
On the professional level, Nohara joins former NM State softball player Stephanie Bonillas, who was chosen in fourth round of the 1997 draft by the Carolina Diamonds of the Women's Professional Fastpitch league.
"We are extremely excited for Hoku," said Aggie head coach Kathy Rodolph. "We look forward to watching her achieve success on the professional level after a great Aggie career."
As an Aggie first baseman and designated player in 2011, Nohara recorded a prolific senior season at the plate. She led the nation with 24 home runs en route to setting new NM State single-season and career marks as well as breaking the WAC career record with 64 home runs in four seasons. She also led the nation with a 1.007 slugging percentage that smashed the Aggies' single-season and career marks.
Nohara now claims multiple career records at NM State including slugging percentage, home runs (64), RBI (209), walks (138) and total bases (450). She also notched single-season records in each of those categories this season in addition to setting a new mark in on-base percentage.
A two-time Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I All-Region honoree, Nohara earned first team recognition for the second straight season. Earlier this year, Nohara earned her third All-WAC selection as a first team member. In 2010, she received second team honors after being recognized on the first team as a sophomore.
After leaving an indelible mark on the Aggie softball program, Nohara begins her professional career in short order. The Racers begin exhibition play this week leading up to the season opener against the NPF Diamonds on Thursday, June 9.
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