Akron, OH-August 8, 2014–The USSSA Florida Pride’s pitching staff has been as potent as any in the NPF this season. Friday night, the Racers’ bats stayed hot running through four Pride pitchers in the 8-3 win.
The Racers took an early lead off of starter Chelsea Thomas. Nerissa Myers singled to center field in the first inning, and after Charlotte Morgan walked, Jessica Garcia singled to left field to drive in Myers. Taylor Schlopy doubled to drive in Morgan and give the Racers a two run lead.
In the second inning, Ayumi Karino walked, and that was the end of Thomas’ night. Thomas threw 1.1 innings and allowed 3 runs on 3 hits, walking 2 and striking out 2 Racers hitters. Jill Barrett hit a RBI double to left field off reliever Danielle Lawrie to give the Racers a 3-0 lead.
Racers ace Rachele Fico held the Pride scoreless in the first two innings, but in the top of the third, the Pride closed the gap when Natasha Watley and Caitlin Lowe singled off of Fico, followed by an Andrea Duran walk. Amanda Kamekona reached first on an error by Kelley Montalvo that allowed Watley to score. Cassie Tysarczyk entered the game to pinch run for Kamekona and DiSalvatore reached base on a fielder’s choice that allowed Lowe to score and cut the Racers lead to one.
The Racers answered in the fourth inning when Barrett reached on a two base error by Lawrie. Nerissa Myers then doubled to drive in Barrett. Garcia followed with a single to center field to drive in Myers. Lawrie walked Haley Outon before Blaire Luna entered the game and forced Montalvo to ground into a fielder’s choice. Lawrie threw 2.1 innings and allowed 2 runs on 3 hits, walking 3 and striking out 1.
In the fifth inning, Fico loaded the bases when Lowe reached on an error by second baseman Ashley Thomas, Kamekona singled to left and Duran walked. That ended Fico’s night, having thrown 4.1 innings, and allowing 2 runs (1 earned) on 7 hits, walking 3 and striking out 3. Hannah Campbell entered the game in a pressure situation, but struck out Kelly Kretschman and got pinch hitter Kristyn Sandberg to pop out to Montalvo in foul territory to get out of the jam.
Luna only faced three batters on the night, including Ashley Thomas who singled to right field before Karino sacrificed her to second. In her .2 innings of work, Luna allowed no runs and only 1 hit. Jordan Taylor then entered the game for the Pride and got fly-outs from Barrett and Morgan to get out of the inning.
The Pride threatened in the top of the sixth, when Watley and Lowe singled off of Campbell to put runners at the corners. That marked the end of Campbell’s night, as she threw 1.1 innings and allowed no runs on 2 hits and struck out 1. Lisa Norris entered the game for the Racers and got Duran to ground into a fielder’s choice and get Lowe out at second. Norris threw the final 1.1 innings for the Racers and allowed one run on one hit to record the save.
The Racers extended their lead in the bottom of the sixth, when Schlopy reached base on an error by Watley and scored on Montalvo’s single to left field. Montalvo advanced to second on the throw home, and scored on Thomas’s single to right. Karino tripled to drive in Thomas and give the Racers an 8-2 lead. Karino’s triple made her the league leader in triples this season, with 3.
The Pride added a single run in the seventh on Kelly Kretschman’s solo home run off of Norris, making the final score 8-3.
The Pride and Racers return to Firestone Stadium on August 9th and 10th for their final two home games of the season against the USSSA Pride. August 9th is Pink the Park and the Racers will auction off the autographed Pink the Park jerseys, with the proceeds going to help local individuals who cannot afford mammograms. August 10th the Racers will thank the fans for their support this season with Fan Appreciation Day. For more information about the Akron Racers or to order tickets, visit www.akronracers.org or call (330) 376-8188.
The USSSA Florida Pride is a professional franchise in the National Pro Fastpitch League that is owned and operated by USSSA. The amateur organization of USSSA has multi-sport coverage and encompasses teams and players from the United States and abroad.
National Pro Fastpitch is headquartered in Nashville, TN. The league, created to give elite female fastpitch players the opportunity to pursue a professional career in their chosen sport, has operated since 1997 under the names of Women’s Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Women’s Pro Softball League (WPSL). NPF is the Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball in the category of women’s fastpitch softball since 2002.
The United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA), headquartered in Osceola County, Florida, USSSA is the World’s Largest Multi-sport Athletic Organization. Founded in 1968, USSSA has grown to over 3.7 million participants, competing in 13 nationally sanctioned sports including Baseball, Fastpitch, Slow Pitch, Karate, Basketball, Soccer and more! For more information on USSSA and to register your team visit USSSA.com. Also be sure to visit USSSAToday.com for the latest USSSA.