Akron, OH – July 15, 2014 - The Racers took the field tonight looking to avoid being swept by the USSSA Pride. Rachele Fico and Keilani Ricketts, who were both drafted in the first round of the 2013 NPF Senior Draft, each took the circle for their team, looking to earn an important win.
The Pride scored first, as Natasha Watley, Madison Shipman and Andrea Duran strung together a series of singles that drove in Watley for the first run of the game.
The Racers responded quickly, though, taking advantage of an error by Shipman that allowed Nerissa Myers to reach first, and a ground rule double off the bat of Charlotte Morgan that set the plate for Jessica Garcia. Garcia singled to centerfield, driving in Myers and tying the game for the Racers. Kelley Montalvo then reached on a fielder’s choice, but Morgan beat the tag at home, to give the Racers the 2-1 lead.
They wouldn’t trail again in the game. Jill Barrett doubled to left field in the second inning, and Myers’ RBI single would give the Racers their third run.
Taylor Schlopy singled in the third inning, and brought Keilani Ricketts’ day to an end. Ricketts recorded the loss for the Pride, in her second shortest start of the season. She pitched 2.1 innings, allowed 3 runs on 5 hits, walked 1 and struck out 1. A new battery entered the game for the Pride, with Chelsea Thomas in the circle and Kristyn Sandberg behind the plate. Sandberg threw Schlopy out attempting to steal second and Thomas got Outon to strike out to end the inning.
In the fourth inning, Ashley Thomas led off with a single, and Barrett reached base on an error by third baseman Andrea Duran. Myers laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners, but an error on the pitcher, Thomas, allowed Myers to reach first safely. Morgan then singled to centerfield and drove in Thomas.
The Pride tried to mount a comeback in the top of the fifth inning, as Caitlin Lowe and Shipman singled, and GiOnna DiSalvatore walked to load the bases. Duran’s single to left field drove in Lowe and Shipman and cut the Racers’ lead to 1. Hannah Campbell entered the game with the bases loaded and got Sandberg to fly out to right field to end the inning. She would pitch the final 2.1 innings, allowing 1 run on 2 hits to record the save for the Racers.
The Racers got the runs back, adding a run in each of the fifth and sixth innings. In the fifth, Schlopy doubled and advanced to third on Thomas’s groundout. Ayumi Karino then singled to right field to make it a 5-3 game.
The Pride would add one more run in the top of the sixth, as Jessica Shults singled to left field, and pinch runner Brejae Washington advanced to second on a groundout from Courtney Ceo. Watley then grounded out to third, which allowed Washington to advance, but the throw back from Morgan went wide of Montalvo and Washington scored the Pride’s final run.
In the sixth, the Pride turned to Jordan Taylor in the circle to try to turn things around, but the Racers added an insurance run when Myers doubled to center and Morgan walked. Jessica Garcia then laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners, and Montalvo executed the suicide squeeze play perfectly, as Myers scored the final run of the game.
The Racers head to Washington, PA to take on the Pennsylvania Rebellion in a two game series, beginning July 16. They return to Firestone Stadium on July 19 for an exhibition doubleheader against the Connecticut Brakettes at 7:05p.m. EDT. For tickets and information about the Racers, visit www.akronracers.org or call 330-376-8188.
Next Racers Game: Wednesday, July 16 at 7:05p.m. EDT
Next Pride Game: Saturday, July 19 at 7:05p.m. EDT
About USSSA Florida Pride
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-port coverage and encompasses teams and players from the United States and abroad.
About Akron Racers
The Akron Racers, headquartered in Akron, OH, are the oldest existing team in the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) league. The Racers competed in the Women's Pro Softball League (WPSL) for two seasons in 1999 and 2000 and in the NPF since 2004. Historic Firestone Stadium is home to the Racers and numerous amateur events at all levels of play. The Racers kick-off their 13th season of play in 2014.
About National Pro Fastpitch
National Pro Fastpitch is headquarted 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 name 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.