Akron, OH. – June 27, 2015 - The Akron Racers met the Chicago Bandits for their third and final game of the series at Firestone Stadium to face off against Bandits ace, Monica Abbott.
Alison Owen (Mississippi State) opened the game with a promising start for Racers fans, shutting the Bandits down with no hits, no runs and no errors in the first inning.
A strike out by Jill Barrett (Tulsa) and Nerissa Myers (Louisiana at Lafayette) being caught at first turned the pressure on for the clean-up hitter, Hayley Outon(Houston). With Taylor Schlopy (Georgia) on base after a walk, Outon entered the batter’s box in the bottom of the first and fell short of keeping the inning going.
Sonoka Kuniyoshi held the Bandits off of the board for another inning when she caught two fly balls in left field for the Bandits’ last two outs.
The Bandits managed to keep the score at a 0-0 tie at the end of the second inning.
With two Bandits outs, second baseman Ashley Thomas (Georgia Tech) tagged Brenna Moss while sneaking to second in an attempt to steal the base and sent the Bandits back to defense. Unfortunately, the third time is not a charm for the Racers and they don’t make it home in the third inning either.
Motivation arrived for the Racers to get a run in the bottom of the fourth, when Bandits first baseman, Brittany Cervantes, hit a homerun over left field to wake up the crowd for good on this dreary evening. The Bandits followed the homerun up with Tatum Edwards being sent home when Kirsten Verdun hit a single, advancing Tammy Williams to second and pushing Edwards to round third and sprint home. Schlopy threw the ball in from centerfield but it fell just short of home plate, allowing Edwards to score and giving the Bandits a 2 run lead in the bottom of the fourth.
Following the Bandits’ second run in the top of the fourth the Racers switch pitchers, Hannah Campbell (South Alabama) entered the circle for Alison Owen.
The Racers held the Bandits for the remaining three innings, entering the bottom of the seventh inning down just a mere 2 runs. Jessica Garcia, the first batter of the inning, was walked to first. Cassie Tysarczyk (Texas A&M) replaced Garcia on first base. Kuniyoshi hit a single, just tapping the ball for pinch run for the shortstop, advancing Tysarczyk to second.
What seemed to be a promising turn around in the bottom of the seventh was shut down by the persistently strong defense that has been seen by the Bandits throughout the game. The game ended with a 2-0 win for the Chicago Bandits.
Abbott struck out 11 and allowed three hits in the win against the Racers.
The Racers played well tonight, however Coach Levin says that “No lose is a good lose, we just ran into a really good pitcher.” Levin explains that with a “pitcher like Monica Abbott, you have to come in with a better focus.”
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