Lauren Haeger Photo By Jade Hewitt Courtesy of National Pro Fastpitch
McKinney, TX, June 8, 2015- NCAA Player of the Year and back-to-back National Champion Lauren Haeger made her Dallas Charge debut Tuesday night, facing off against the 2014 NPF Pitcher of the Year, Cat Osterman. The expected pitcher’s duel materialized in a tight game through six innings. Eventually, Osterman’s dominance proved to be the differences in a 4-1 win for the reigning NPF Cowles Cup Champions. The loss was the Charge’s fourth in a row to the star-studded USSSA squad.
Haeger got off to a fantastic start, fanning Shelby Pendley and coaxing a pop out from Kelly Kretschman. Madison Shipman rolled one to left for a single. Then Andrea Duran hit a low 1-2 pitch into the lake beyond the left centerfield fence, taking the Pride to a 2-0 lead. GiOnna DiSalvatore followed with a single, but Brigette Del Ponte flied out to right field to end the frame.
Osterman’s start was typical, striking out the side in both the first and second innings. She kept a Charge team that started six rookies completely under control, no-hitting them through four innings.
In the fifth, the Charge fought back. Mikey Kenney got a leadoff walk and advanced to second on an Angie Quiocho sacrifice bunt. Eri Yamada, in her first Charge at bat, was Osterman's 11th strikeout. Renada Davis then singled through the right side to bring Kenney home cutting the Pride lead in half, 2-1. Davis advanced to second on the throw, but Osterman put out the fire by getting Kaitlyn Richardson to pop out to left field for the third out.
Neither offense could anything going in the sixth. In the seventh the Pride added two insurance runs. Pendley beat out a bunt, Kretschman doubled over the head of Quiocho in left, bringing Pendley all the way home from first. A throwing error on the relay home moved Kretschman to third. A Duran deep fly ball to left field was enough for Kretschman to tag and score pushing the Pride lead to three.
The Charge would threaten in the seventh, but left two stranded. Osterman, fanned 11, allowing just three hits, lowering her early season ERA to 1.62.
Haeger, who had just arrived Tuesday morning, had perspective about the game, "It felt good to come out here to play, you know [the Pride] is good and my team did really well for not knowing each other very well yet. I love my teammates, they are very supportive." The rookie went the distance, striking out six, allowing three earned runs.
On the series lost, Richardson said "You know, the only time you're going to find success before work is in the dictionary. I'm looking forward to going on the road and facing them again."
The Dallas Charge will have a break on Wednesday as they travel to Kansas City, Missouri where they will face the Pride again on Thursday at Community America Ballpark with the first pitch set for 7:35 p.m. CT. You are able to catch live stats at www.dallascharge.com
The Dallas Charge will begin competition in the National Pro Fastpitch league in 2015. The Charge will provide elite softball players the opportunity to pursue a professional career and inspire the next generation of professionals. Located in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, the Charge organization and its players are committed to demonstrating leadership in community involvement, entertainment, and professionalism. Follow the Dallas Charge at www.dallascharge.com
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.