SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - The Missouri State softball team played a full seven-inning game against the visiting National Professional Fastpitch (NPF) All-Stars as part of the 2012 NPF Back to School Tour at Killian Stadium on Sunday afternoon, falling, 13-0. The Bears played errorless defense and registered five base hits in the exhibition game.
"I always want us to be fun and exciting on defense and I thought we were all of that and more today," said head coach Holly Hesse. "I am pleased with what I saw at the plate from our players today. We attacked good pitches. It was a great opportunity to be on the field with the elite players of the game. We learned a lot and got better doing it."
Sophomore starting pitcher Chelsea Jones was effective allowing a single first inning run on a pair of base hits. In the Bears' half of the inning, Kirstin Cutter and Ashley Brentz drew back-to-back walks to lead off the game. NPF pitcher Jen Mineau induced a double play ball and the Bears were unable to even the score.
In the second inning, Jones shutdown the NPF offense, stranding the bases loaded without allowing a run in the frame. But the All-Stars exploded in the third inning. A pair of home runs chased Jones as the NPF All-Stars batted around and plated seven runs.
Missouri State began a rally in its half of the third inning. With two outs, Cutter reached on a sharp single up the middle for the Bears' first hit of the game. The next hitter, Brentz, laced a single through the left side and MSU had a pair of base runners. Again the NPF hurler escaped with a pop up to end the inning.
MSU pitcher Rachel Brisker, who came on in relief in the third, got through the fourth unscathed. She allowed a walk and hit a batter, but did not give up a run in the inning.
Brisker pitched again in the fifth inning. This time through, she gave up one run on two hits as the NPF All-Stars edged the lead to 8-0. After the inning, Brisker's day was done as she hurled 2.1 innings, giving up 2 runs, 2 walks and striking out 2 NPF All-Stars.
The Missouri State fifth inning started off promising. Heather Duckworth singled through the right side and MSU has a leadoff runner aboard. But a fielder's choice, a line out and a ground out ended the Bears' threat.
Freshman pitcher Jessie Van Es came on to work the sixth inning. She was greeted rudely as the NPF All-Stars rattled off four straight hits, including a pair of home runs. But Van Es buckled down and got through the inning without any further damage.
Ciara Flau led off the Bears sixth inning. She promptly singled up the middle to give MSU another leadoff runner. Bethany Sullinger reached on a fielder's choice and advanced to second on a throwing error to give Missouri State a runner in scoring position with just one out. The Bears' rally ended with a fly out and a ground out.
The teams played on through the seventh inning. Van Es threw a scoreless inning, allowing a pair of hits.
In the Bears' half of the seventh, Stacia Boeckstiegel led off with a single to left field. Kerri Cunningham drew a walk to give MSU two on with no outs. But NPF pitcher Jamee Juarez stranded both runners to complete the shutout.
Missouri State will wrap up the fall exhibition slate with a pair of games in Tulsa, Okla., on Sept. 29 and two games in St. Louis on Oct. 6.
About National Pro Fastpitch:
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.