AKRON, OH.-June 22, 2015- The Akron Racers (5-8) battled the USSSA Pride (6-3) to gain a 2-0 victory on a stunning performance by Racers’ pitcher, Sarah Pauly.
Racers’ Assistant Field Manager Dustin Combs explained, “When we’re locked and when we are playing great defense and with the pitching from Sarah Pauly, we can beat anybody we play.”
Pride Pitcher Cat Osterman froze the Racers’ offense in the first inning by tossing three consecutive strikeouts. But the Racers continued to take their cuts on each at bat.
Kelley Montalvo (Alabama) put the Pride on their toes by blasting a double into left field corner in the bottom of the second. Osterman shut down the inning with two back-to-back strikeouts, leaving Montalvo on second base.
The Racers continued to play solid defense into the fourth inning. Montalvo dove for a hard hit grounder up the third base line and threw it over to first baseman Megan Low (UT San Antonio). Low reached for the errand throw and tagged Andrea Duran for the first out of the inning. Madison Shipman and GiOnna DiSalvatore both flied out to left field and centerfield, respectively.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Racers continued to test the Pride defense. Taylor Schlopy (Georgia) powered a line drive up the middle. The overthrow by Pride second basemen Shelby Pendley allowed Schlopy to head to second. Nerissa Meyers (Louisiana Lafayette) and Shellie Robinson (USC Upstate) laid down consecutive bunts to load the bases for the Racers. Montalvo sent a ball straight back to Osterman, who then got the force out at home to prevent Schlopy from scoring. Low struck out swinging and Jessica Garcia grounded out to Osterman to end the Racers threat.
In the fifth inning, both pitchers set down the side in order. Pauly struck out three consecutive hitters, Lauren Chamberlain, Brigette Del Pointe and Natasha Watley. In the Racers half of the inning, Osterman struck out Ayumi Karino, Ashley Thomas and Jill Barrett.
Kelly Kretchman opened the top half of the sixth inning with a single to the right side of the Racers infield. Kretchman stole second base to put the go ahead run for the Pride in scoring position. Wiggins lined out to Montalvo for out number one. Pendley grounded out to Jill Barrett at short and Duran struck out to end the Pride threat.
Schlopy drew a walk to start off the sixth inning for the Racers. Nerissa Myers laid down a sacrifice bunt moving Schlopy into scoring position. Robinson crushed an RBI double to left field to plate Schlopy for the Racers first run of the game. Robinson advanced to third on a wild pitch. Montalvo delivers a sacrifice fly scoring Robinson to put the Racers up 2-0. Megan Low hit a powerful line drive single to left field. Low was lifted for a pinch runner, Sonoka Kuniyoshi. Kuniyoshi was caught trying to steal second base for the final out of the inning.
In the top of the seventh inning, Montalvo grabbed a pop up between third and the pitcher’s mound by Shipman. Robinson caught a fly ball from DiSalvatore for out number two and Amanda Kamekona grounded out to Jill Barrett (Tulsa) for the final out of the game.
Montalvo, who went one for two, has been a vocal leader on the team this year. She says this win can rejuvenate the team.
“We’ve been struggling so far,” said Montalvo. “Going up against Osterman isn’t easy, she’s so great and she gets better every year. We came together tonight as a team to get this win.”
Sarah Pauly (3-1) throws her second complete game of the season and takes the win on the mound for the Racers with a seven-inning shutout and five strikeouts. Cat Osterman (3-1) takes a loss for the first time since 2013. Osterman was 18-0 on 2015.
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 o 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