Haley Outon Photo By Don Martukovich Courtes of National Pro Fastpitch
Akron, OH. – June 26, 2015 - The Akron Racers (8-8) triumphed over the Chicago Bandits (12-4) in the second game of the series Friday evening by a score of 5-2. Racers pitcher Lisa Norris (North Carolina) celebrated her 28th birthday with a win against the Bandits picking up her second win of the season. Haley Outon (Houston) hammered a walk-off grand slam with two down in the bottom half of the 7th inning.
“It was a great birthday present for Lisa,” said Outon on her game-winning grand slam. “She gave me a hug; it was great.”
The Racers’ defense started out strong in the first inning. Ashley Thomas (Georgia Tech) snagged a line drive off of Bandits’ Emily Allard’s bat to get the first out. Norris walked Brenna Moss, who was called out at second base on runner interference. Kelley Montalvo (Alabama) grabbed a hard-hit grounder and threw to Kailee Cuico (Oregon) to shut down the Bandits in the first inning.
In the bottom half, the Racers’ Jill Barrett (Tulsa) grounded out to second base and Taylor Schlopy (Georgia) followed with a grounder to the pitcher to get the first two outs. Nerissa Myers (Louisiana Lafayette) singled to first base on a well-placed bunt. Shellie Robinson (USC-Upstate) hit a long fly ball to left field to end the first inning.
In the top of the second, the Bandits got a runner on base when Taylor Edwards singled. Amber Patton reached first base on an error by second baseman Ashley Thomas placing Edwards into scoring position. Schlopy caught a fly ball to left-center to knock down the first out of the inning. Megan doubled down the right field line to plate Edwards. A.J. Andrews had a sacrifice hit to score Patton, making the score 2-0. Barrett grabbed a quick grounder hit by Allard and fired to first to end the inning.
The Racers’ Montalvo began the inning with long fly ball that was snagged in left. Outon and Cuico got shut down at the plate to get the last two outs of the inning.
Bandits player Moss laced a single up the middle to start off the top third. Tammy Williams lined out to Norris. Moss was picked off at first base for the second out inning. After a long fight at the plate, Brittany Cervantes was walked and moved into scoring position with a single to third base by Taylor Edwards. Patton hit a hard short-hopper to third base, fielded cleanly by Montalvo to end the top half.
In the Racers’ half of the third inning, Thomas lost her battle at the plate for the first out. Ayumi Karino grounded out to first for the second out. Barrett reached first on a well-placed bunt. Schlopy brought the inning to an end with another long fly ball to left field.
In the top of the fourth, Barrett could not reach Danielle Zymkowitz’s ground ball before it got to the grass for a single. Blank was hit by a pitch and moved Zymkowitz to second base. Andrews struck out looking. Thomas snatched a grounder by Allard for the second out of the inning. Both Blank and Zymkowitz advanced on the play first. Thomas fielded a grounder by Moss to end the top half of the fourth.
Myers started off the bottom of the fourth smashing a single to centerfield. Robinson hit another long fly out to center to get the first out of the inning. Montalvo blasted a triple down the right field line to plate Myers, cutting the Bandits lead in half. Outon hit a high fly ball that was grabbed by Blank in the first base foul territory. Montalvo was left stranded at third when Jessica Garcia flew out to centerfield to end the fourth.
The Racers’ defense was tough in the fifth inning. Thomas nabbed a hard-hit grounder to second and flipped it to Cuico to retire Williams. Montalvo seized a hot grounder and fired to first to cut down Cervantes. Karino made the inning-ending play by capturing a long fly ball to right.
Thomas began the bottom half of the fifth with a slap to shortstop Tammy Williams who fired to first for the first out of the inning. Karino walked and moved second on a hit up the middle by Barrett. Schlopy struck out swinging. Myers walked to load the bases. Robinson shot a fly ball to left field for the third out leaving the runners on base and ending the inning.
Starting the top of the sixth inning, the Bandits’ Patton singled to left field. Zymkowitz moved Patton to second base with a sacrifice bunt. The Racers’ Karino caught a fly ball in right to retire Blank to get the second out of the inning. Natalie Hernandez pinch hit for Andrews. Hernandez struck out looking.
Montalvo dropped a hit into short-center to start off the bottom half of the sixth. Outon reached first on a fielder’s choice while Montalvo was gunned down out at second. Jennifer Gilbert, pinch hitting for Cuico, was hit by a pitch, advancing Outon to second base. Thomas popped up to centerfield for the second out of the inning. Karino marooned Outon and Gilbert on base with her first strike out of the night to end the sixth inning.
In the top of the seventh, Montalvo snagged a line drive at third hit by Allard to get the first out. Barrett caught a high fly ball to retire Moss. Williams reached first base on a single to centerfield. Williams stole second base. Outon tagged Williams out at home after attempting to score on a Cervantes infield pop fly.
Barrett led off the bottom half of the seventh inning with a double to the right field. Schlopy hit a pop fly to centerfield for out number one. Myers walked to put the winning run on the base-path. Robinson grounder to third base loaded the bases when the Bandits infield failed to record an out. Montalvo popped out to short leftfield for the second out. Outon slammed a towering grand slam to give the Racers 5-2 come-from-behind victory.
“You just try to do whatever you can for the team,” said Outon. She stayed calm and relaxed up at the plate, making her walk-off all the more enjoyable. “I just wanted to do it for them.”
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