AKRON, OH (June 9, 2016) -- A day after crushing five home runs, the Racers did not leave the yard once, but still managed to edge out the Rebellion for a 5-3 win, reassuring the Racer faithful that this team can do a lot more than just slug out homers.
“It’s always big to get wins, especially early in the year,” Racers Field Manager Brian Levin said. “We are resilient. I think I knew that from the beginning, but you never know in this league, you could be up 6-0 or down 6-0 and someone could put up a lot of runs on the board quickly.
“We just try to play an inning at a time.”
Today it was a team comeback performance that was sparked by University of Georgia rookie Alex Hugo’s 2-run pinch hit double in the fourth inning that gave the Racers (3-1) a 3-2 lead they would never lose. It was the second consecutive game that Hugo entered as a pinch hitter and delivered a double.
It was last night’s hero, Jennifer Gilbert (Ball State) leading off the fourth inning with a bunt single. She advanced to second on a throwing error by Rebellion third baseman Whitney Arion and gave the Racers a runner in scoring position. Akron third baseman Kelley Montalvo (Alabama) followed with one of her three walks in the game. Following Montalvo’s walk, Cassie Tysarczyk came through with a bunt single to load the bases. Then it was Hugo stepping up to the dish and delivering in the clutch.
“It was exciting,” Hugo said. “Just keeping calm in the box and doing my job I think is exciting and it helped the team come through.”
Following Hugo’s double, second baseman Ashley Thomas (Georgia Tech) followed with a squeeze bunt that scored Tysarczyk and extended the lead to 4-2.
Pennsylvania (3-6) answered in the top of the fifth inning, cutting the Racer lead in half on a solo home run by centerfielder Lindsey Stephens with one out in the inning.
However, it was a quick response for the Rubber City as Montalvo drew a two-out walk and sparked another rally in the bottom half of the inning to get that run right back. Tysarczyk singled in the following at bat and due to a fielding error by Rebellion right fielder Alexa Peterson, Montalvo scored on the play making it a 5-3 win.
Jailyn Ford (James Madison University) made her second career NPF appearance, this time coming out of the bullpen to start the top of the sixth inning. Ford picked up the first save of her career, striking out four batters in two perfect innings. Ford has now pitched 7.0 shutout innings to begin her career, recording seven punchouts.
The Racers have gotten used to fast starts through the opening four games and once again struck first when shortstop Sami Fagan (Missouri) laid down a bunt single to lead off the bottom of the first inning. Two batters later, leftfielder Shellie Robinson (South Carolina-Upstate) hit a sacrifice fly to plate Fagan for the first run of the game. Akron has now outscored its opponents 9-0 in the first inning through four games.
Pennsylvania answered and tied the game in the second inning on a fielder’s choice groundout from Mandy Ogle, scoring Lexie Elkins. They then captured their first lead in the third inning with a leadoff home run from Arion.
The lead only lasted one inning though as Alex Hugo delivered her heroics in the bottom of the fourth inning.
The game began with Thomas being recognized for making her 100th consecutive start for Akron, accounting for each game of her career since being drafted in 2014. Thomas became the first Akron player to accomplish such a feat in the franchise’s 15-year history.
“I’m just appreciative of Joey and the coaching staff and the team in general,” Thomas said. “It’s a great team. They are the ones that make that possible and I’m just really blessed to be able to step on that field.
“I love (Racers GM) Joey (Arrietta) so much. She’s a sweetheart, she is an angel, there are so many words that could be used to describe her, but I wouldn’t want anyone else handing me that helmet.”
The Racers close out the series with the Rebellion tomorrow night at Firestone Stadium with the first pitch coming at 7:05 p.m.
About the Pennsylvania Rebellion:
The Rebellion is a professional women’s softball team competing as part of the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF). In their third season in the league, the Rebellion will play head-to-head against the most talented players in the sport. Games are broadcast nationally and draw local fans of all ages to experience the action live. NPF is an Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball. For more information about the Pennsylvania Rebellion, please visit www.pennsylvaniarebellion.com or call 724-250-9555.
The Akron Racers, headquartered in Akron, OH, are the oldest existing team in the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) league, celebrating their 15th Season of Play in 2016. 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.
About National Pro Fastpitch (NPF)
National Pro Fastpitch (NPF), an Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball since 2002, provides elite female athletes with an opportunity to pursue a professional career in diamond sports beyond their collegiate success. The 2016 NPF season will be televised on CBS Sports Network. Coverage includes the NPF College Draft presented by Bownet on Thur., April 14, followed by 23 regular-season games, a Championship Series Preview Special and the 2016 NPF Championship Series. The NPF recently announced that the Scrap Yard Dawgs, located in The Woodlands, Texas, will join the Akron Racers, Chicago Bandits, Dallas Charge, Pennsylvania Rebellion and USSSA Florida Pride for the 2016 season. National Pro Fastpitch players hail from the U.S., Australia, Canada, Japan, the Netherlands and New Zealand, representing the most accomplished and talented athletes in the sport of women’s softball.
Note to Media
Photos and b-roll of players is available. Interviews with the league commissioner are welcomed, and top players from each team are accessible immediately. If you’re interested in pursuing story angles about professional softball for women, please don’t hesitate to contact us.