AKRON, OH (June 14, 2016) – The Akron Racers found themselves in an unfamiliar position for this home stand on Tuesday night. Akron trailed from the very beginning, and despite numerous comeback attempts, was not able to pull out a win during their sixth straight game at home. The Chicago Bandits made the plays necessary to come away with a 7-3 victory at Firestone Stadium.
The Racers (5-3) kept the game close early, but in the top of the fifth inning, Chicago (6-4) designated player Natalie Hernandez gave the Bandits all the security they would need with a three-run home run to right field to put the visitors ahead 6-2.
“We dug ourselves a hole tonight early,” Coach Levin said. “We just have to kind of get rid of it.”
Akron answered with one run in the bottom of the fifth inning when Racers shortstop Sami Fagan (Missouri) brought home first baseman Sandra Simmons (Louisiana State) to cut the deficit to 6-3. One batter earlier, Simmons recorded her first professional hit with a two-out double to start the inning.
“It was a fun game to be able to play in and finally have that experience,” Simmons said. “I’ve settled into Akron awesome. All my teammates have helped me out tremendously.
“Jen (Gilbert) has really done an awesome job filling me in on first base and keeping me in and knowing what to do next. It’s been great.”
The final run of the game would come in the top of the seventh, when Bandit catcher Taylor Edwards smashed a solo home run to left field to put Chicago ahead 7-3.
The Racers started off the night by giving up a run in the top of the first inning for the first time this season. Leadoff hitter Brittany Cervantes started the inning by drawing a walk and came around to score on a base hit by shortstop Jill Barrett two batters later.
The Bandits were able to extend their lead by two runs in the third inning. Danielle Zymkowitz singled to left field, allowing Tatum Edwards to score their third run.
After failing to score a run in the first two innings, the Racers responded in the bottom of the third inning by putting two runs on the board. Akron catcher Griffin Joiner (Kentucky) and second baseman Ashley Thomas (Georgia Tech) both picked up hits to begin the frame. Then with two outs Fagan brought both home with a two-run double to pull the Racers within one run at 3-2.
“I felt really good,” Fagan said. “My plan was just to track the ball and put a good bat on it. She was mixing me in and out and different speeds so I was just trying to see the inside part of the ball as best as I could.”
Fagan was 2-for-3 and drove in all three RBI for the Racers on Tuesday night.
The Racers return to Firestone Stadium Wednesday night at 7:05 pm to end the two-game series and the seven-game home stand against the Chicago Bandits. Contact the Akron Racers ticket office at 330-376-8188 or online at www.akronracers.org for ticket information.
About the Chicago Bandits:
Since 2005, the Chicago Bandits have been members of the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) league. Located in Rosemont, the Bandits provide an opportunity for female fastpitch players to further their careers at a professional level, and the roster has included such names as Jennie Finch, Stacy May-Johnson, Emily Allard and Tammy Williams. The three-time NPF Champions, who are owned by Bill Sokolis, play at The Ballpark at Rosemont, the only stadium in the country built for a women’s professional team. The 2016 season will be the Bandits' 12th season in the NPF.
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.