Jessica Garcia Photo Courtesy of National Por Fastpitch
Akron, OH – August 9, 2014 - After the Akron Racers took the first two games of their series with the USSSA Pride, the Pride turned to their ace to get a win Saturday evening.
Cat Osterman slipped up briefly but recovered to throw a complete game, leading the Pride to a 4-2 victory over the red-hot Racers.
All of the Pride’s scoring came with two outs in the 4th inning. Second baseman Amanda Kamekona hit a solo home run off of Racers starting pitcher Alison Owen to give the Pride a 1-0 lead. Then GiOnna DiSalvatore singled and Owen’s night was done.
Hannah Campbell came in from the bullpen and allowed a Bridgette DelPonte double. Kristin Sandberg followed with a three-run home run that proved to be all the support Osterman needed.
“We were kind of teetering,” Racers Field Manager Brian Levin said. “It seemed like they were squaring up a lot of balls (off of Owen), hitting a lot of deep fly balls. When they did hit the ball out and square up the next one, we felt like we couldn’t risk anymore runs. It ended up Hannah came in and allowed the home run. Sometimes you gamble and lose.”
The Racers, winners of seven straight coming in, responded in the bottom of the 4th when first baseman Charlotte Morgan hit a line-drive single directly off Osterman’s leg. Designated Player Jessica Garcia then drilled a two-run home run to pull the Racers within 4-2, just the seventh and eighth earned runs Osterman has allowed this season.
“My approach was to get something in the zone and drive it,” Garcia said. “I knew she was probably going to come in on me eventually. I was looking for a pitch that was a little flatter and I could drive.”
But Osterman shut down the Racers the remainder of the evening, allowing four hits and one walk with 12 strikeouts to move her record to 15-0.
“If there’s a positive to a loss, it’s that she’s got eight earned runs and we’ve got seven of them,” Levin said. “That’s a confidence builder to let us know we can score on anybody. We sent that message to our players. Offensively, we can produce runs on any pitcher in the league.”
The Racers will head to the National Pro Fastpitch Championship Series next week brimming with the confidence. In her third year with the Racers, Garcia believes the team has truly come together heading into the home stretch of the season.
“I feel like we’ve proven a lot this year,” Garcia said. “Coming in with a lot of rookies and a whole new team we’ve done a great job. We can hit anyone at this point.
“I think honestly all bets are off. We’re just going to go (to the Championships) and play our game and if we play our game I think we’re going to do really well.”
The Racers and Pride finish their series Sunday at 2:05 PM. ET For tickets or info call the Racers at 330-376-8188.
Next Game: Friday, August 10 at 2:05 PM ET USSSA Pride vs Akron Racers at Firestone Stadium - Akron, OH.
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-sport 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 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.