Shellie Robinson of Akron Racers Courtesy of National Pro Fastpitch
Akron, Ohio- June 17, 2015- The Akron Racers (3-6) fell to the Chicago Bandits (8-1) in the first game of the series Wednesday evening by a score of 6-4. Sarah Pauly (Texas A&M Corpus Christi) faced off against Monica Abbot in the circle. Shellie Robinson (USC Upstate) smashed her first career home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to bring in three runs for the Racers.
“When you can get a swing of the bat like Shellie had on that home run, it was really impressive,” said Manager Brian Levin. “I was really happy for her.”
Robinson mentioned that Monica Abbott for the Chicago Bandits is one of the toughest pitchers in the NPF.
“You just try to stay focused and stay relaxed,” said Robinson. “We have the tools, the team morale was great today. The future is bright for us. “
A quick first inning occurred for the Racers by taking out the first three Chicago batters. Nerissa Myers (University of Louisiana at Lafayette) and Ashley Thomas (Georgia Institute of Technology) each knocked down a grounder and Thomas caught a pop fly to retire the first three Bandits. As quickly as the Racers retired the Bandits, the Bandits knocked down the first three Racers as well.
The Bandits took the lead in the top of the second inning by scoring two runs on a fielding error by Kailee Cuico (University of Oregon). Taylor Schlopy (University of Georgia) hammered her first home run of the season in the bottom half of the inning.
“It felt great and it was just a simple approach,” said Schlopy. “You just have to see the ball, hit the ball. I wasn’t trying to hit a home run. I was just trying to get on base. It was a good pump up for our team.”
The Racers returned to the field with strong defense in the third inning. Cuico redeemed herself in the top of the third by catching a line drive off of Moss’s quick bat. Kelley Montalvo (University of Alabama) stopped a fast grounder at third for the second out of the inning. The Racers continued to hold the Bandits to a three runs until the sixth inning when Laura Winter (University of Notre Dame) came in for relief, giving up a three-run homer run on her first batter.
The Racers rallied in the seventh inning, Thomas singled to second, Jill Barrett (University of Tulsa) moved her over to second base with her bunt-single, and Robinson launched a home run to center field to score three runs, making the score 6-4.
“It’s not so much as they won it, we lost it,” said Levin. “That first inning when we had that error at first base cost us two runs. That’s a hard deficit to get out of when you’re facing a pitcher like Monica Abbott.”
The Bandits’ Abbott had a strong performance recording nine strikeouts in her first start of the 2015 season. She finished the game giving up five hits. The Bandits’ Branndi Melero made her NPF debut, recording four RBIs for the night, including a three-run home run. Melero debuted as the Boombah player of the game.
The Racers return to Firestone Stadium to play against the Bandits on June 18 and 19 at 7:05 p.m. EST to complete the series.
The Akron Racers, headquartered in Akron, OH, is 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 14th season of play in 2015.
National Pro Fastpitch is headquartered in Nashville, TN. The league, created to give elite female fast pitch 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 fast pitch softball since 2002. www.profastpitch.com