Brigette Del Ponte of the USSSA Florida Pride Home Run Celebration Photo By Jade Hewitt Courtesy of National Pro Fastpitch
San Antonio, TX – August 6, 2015 – The USSSA Pride beat the Dallas Charge twice Thursday evening at St. Mary’s University giving them the NPF Regular Season Championship for the second consecutive year and for the fourth time in the last five seasons.
In game one, which was a makeup for an earlier season rainout, Chelsea Thomas tossed a complete game 3-hit shutout helping the Pride to a 4-0 win. Thomas fanned eight, walked three and improved to 8-3 on the season. The Charge’s Jolene Henderson suffered the loss allowing four earned runs on seven hits. She struck out two and walked two.
Shelby Pendley was 2 for 3 with a solo bomb in the second inning staking the Pride to an early 1-0. In the fifth the Pride scored three to put the game away. The Pride loaded the bases before Kretschman’s sacrifice fly to left and Wiggins double to right center cleared the bases, making the score 4-0. The Charge failed to mount a serious challenge in their last two at bats, securing the game one win for the Pride.
In the nightcap, former Florida teammates squared off in the circle. Hannah Rogers pitched for the Pride and Lauren Haeger for the Charge.
The Charge jumped out to an early lead when Rogers misplayed a two out popup with runners at second and third, allowing one run to score. A passed ball brought home run number two.
The Charge held the 2-0 lead until the bottom of the fifth when the Pride struck for four quick runs. Pendley hit her second homer of the night, a no-doubt solo blast to right. With two on and two out Bridget Del Ponte mashed a pinch hit bomb over the left field fence giving the Pride their first lead of the game at 4-2.
The visitors responded in the sixth with two to tie the game at four. Nicole Morgan started things with a single and moved to second on a throwing error. The hit signaled the end of the night for Rogers who was relieved by Keilani Ricketts. A sacrifice bunt from Taylor Thom moved Kahley Novak, who entered to run for Morgan, to third. Nadia Taylor brought her home with a single up the middle. Brianna Cherry walked pushing Taylor to second. Kylee Lahners hit a sharp ground ball to the shortstop’s right. The ball was kicked it into shallow left field. Taylor running from second was beaten to home by the throw, but athletically eluded the catcher to tie the game.
Jordan Taylor, the league leader in saves, came on in relief of Ricketts and put out the fire with a strikeout.
In the eighth inning the game went into International Tie Breaker phase where the Charge failed to score in their at bat. The Pride expertly moved Del Ponte to third with a bunt before Wiggins hit a sharp ground ball to second. Del Ponte’s head first slide beat the throw to the plate to give the Pride the victory and regular season crown.
Taylor collected the win in the circle for the Pride and Morgan Melloh who relieved Haeger in the sixth got the loss.
The Charge lead over the PA Rebellion fell to three games, four in the win column. The Charge finish with one game against the Pride and three at home with Chicago. The Rebellion have six games left, all against the Akron Racers.
The Pride and Charge will face off again Friday evening at 7pm at St. Mary’s. The game will be the Pride’s last game of the regular season.
The Dallas Charge will begin competition in the National Pro Fastpitch league in 2015. The Charge will provide elite softball players the opportunity to pursue a professional career and inspire the next generation of professionals. Located in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, the Charge organization and its players are committed to demonstrating leadership in community involvement, entertainment, and professionalism. Follow the Dallas Charge at http://www.dallascharge.com
The USSSA Florida Pride is a professional franchise in the National Pro Fastpitch League that is owned and operated by USSSA. The amateur organization of USSSA has multi-sport coverage and encompasses teams and players from the United States and abroad.
National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) is headquartered in Nashville, Tenn. The league, created to give elite female fastpitch 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 fastpitch softball and has been since 2002.