AKRON, OH. - July 18, 2015 - The Akron Racers fell behind early, and a late-game rally fell short as the visiting Dallas Charge took the second game of a four-game series 9-6 at Firestone Stadium.
The Racers (14-15) fell behind 8-0 midway through the fifth inning before their bats would come alive. Dallas (11-20) starting pitcher Lauren Haeger walked Akron designated player Nerissa Myers (Louisiana Lafayette) and centerfielder Taylor Schlopy (Georgia) to start the bottom of the fifth inning. After Racers’ catcher Jessica Garcia (New Mexico) reached base on an error by Charge second baseman Kahley Novak, Dallas manager Jennifer McFalls pulled Haeger for relief pitcher Vanessa Stokes.
Akron leftfielder Cassie Tysarczyk (Texas A&M), earned a walk off Stokes to score Myers for the Racers first run of the game. With the bases loaded, Akron first baseman Briana Hamilton (Florida State) delivered with a three-run double right-center field to cut the score to 8-4.
“It’s really hard to come back from such a defecit, but we were focused on getting back one run at a time, but in the end, we came up short,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton would score two batters later on an Ashley Thomas groundball.
The Charge got on the board right away in the top of the first inning when Haeger launched a two-run home run to leftfield that also scored Dallas centerfielder Eri Yamada.
The Charge scored two more runs in the second inning and then three more runs in the third inning. Dallas catcher Kaylyn Castillo welcomed Akron relief pitcher Laura Winter to the game by lacing a two-run double down the leftfield line in the third inning to extend the Charge lead to 7-0.
Dallas picked up seven runs, six earned against Racer starting pitcher Lisa Norris (North Carolina) in 2 2/3 innings.
Coach Brian Levin said after the game, “What it really came down to was capitalizing on having runners in scoring position, and they were able to," Akron coach Brian Levin said. "We left too many runners on base and that is what prevented us from coming back.”
The Racers had runners on second and third base in both the first and second innings, but could not come up with the clutch hit to push runs across. That trouble would continue in the fourth inning when Akron left the bases loaded, before finally breaking through in the fifth inning.
After the Charge added a run on an RBI double by Castillo in the top of the seventh inning, the Racers would attempt one final comeback in the bottom of the seventh inning. Akron second baseman Ashley Thomas (Georgia Tech) picked up a one-out bunt single to get things going. Racers’ right fielder Ayumi Karino (Japan) followed with a walk and Myers brought home Thomas with a two-out single. Dallas reliever Morgan Melloh completed the save when she struck out Schlopy to end the game.
Castillo went 3-for-3 with three double and four RBIs and rightfielder Brianna Cherry went 3-for-4 with one double and three runs scored to lead the Charge offensively.
Hamilton went went 2-for-3 with two doubles, three RBIs and a run scored for Akron.
The Racers welcome Dallas back to Firestone Stadium on Monday for the third game of 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