AKRON, OH- Racers catcher Sam Marder hasn’t played in every game this season, but when she does, she has made it count. The first-year player from Ohio State has called just six games this season, but has come up with two hits that have been the catalyst for two victories. Her latest hit came in the fourth inning off pitcher Cat Osterman (4-2) in the Racers (8-6) 2-1 victory over the USSSA Pride (7-7).
The victory keeps the Racers within a game of the Chicago Bandits and they now stand alone in second place in the NPF.
Marder's one-out single in the fourth to put the Racers in front 2-0 was the difference in the game. After Nicole Trimboli reaching base on a high chopper to first that Charlotte Morgan failed to flip to first in time, Nicole Pauly hit a ground ball to short that was backhanded by former Olympian Natasha Watley but thrown past a covering Ashley Charters. Kelley Montalvo followed with a walk to load the bases, which allowed Marder to give her team the two runs they needed to win.
Marder thanked her teammates for allowing her to be in that position.
“The credit goes to my teammates for getting on [base] against such a great pitcher [in Cat Osterman],” Marder said. “I just happened to be the one up to get the hit.”
In the bottom of the third, the Racers set themselves up for a solid scoring opportunity, but could not take advantage of it. After Kelley Montalvo singled and Marder drew a walk, the Racers were unable to advance them past second base.
Racers starting pitcher Kristina Thorson (2-1) came through with a solid outing to even the series and bring them to within a half-game of league-leading Chicago. Through the first five frames, Thorson had not allowed a runner to reach second base. The former California Bear went the distance allowing a run on three hits, walking one and striking out five, shrinking her earned run average to 1.67.
“This win is huge, especially off a pitcher like Cat, we were able to string four hits together,” Thorson said. “It’s going to help build our momentum going into the rest of the season. I love throwing against her; it’s a pitcher’s duel. We’re great friends and we both love a challenge.”
Thorson lost the shutout in the top of the sixth inning when Jessica Mendoza hit a sacrifice fly to left, plating Natasha Watley.
The Racers and Pride will continue the series Saturday night at 7:05 at Firestone Stadium.