Taylor Schlopy Photo by Ryan Breiding Courtesy of National Pro Fastpitch
AKRON, OH (June 29, 2016) – On a night the Akron Racers were forced to come back three different times, first baseman Sam Fischer (Loyola-Marymount) delivered the deciding blow with a three-run, nearly 300-foot home run to center field in order to finally push past the Pennsylvania Rebellion and secure the riveting 5-3 win at Firestone Stadium in eight innings.
Racers (11-8) center fielder Taylor Schlopy (Georgia) and third baseman Kelley Montalvo (Alabama) started the bottom of the eighth inning with a single and walk, respectively, and with Pennsylvania trying to cling to a 3-2 lead, Fischer launched the 1-2 pitch out of the park and sped around the bases to meet her teammates at home plate, where they celebrated a thrilling walk-off victory.
“Just elation,” field manager Brian Levin said regarding his reaction to Fischer’s home run. “Any time your team comes back from being down a couple of times and then finds a way to win it, that’s just fun to be a part of.”
Fischer now leads the NPF with eight home runs on the season.
“This one was different (from other home runs) because it was the game-winner,” Fischer said. “It was exciting because we were down to our last couple of outs. I felt really glad to help my team and make it count with this one.”
Rebellion (7-15) shortstop Whitney Arion had muscled a line drive home run over the wall in right-center field to put Pennsylvania ahead 3-2, but the Racers wouldn’t be denied as the three-run rally in the bottom of the eighth stole the game right back for the Rubber City.
Starting pitchers Jailyn Ford (James Madison) for Akron and Miranda Kramer for Pennsylvania (7-15) brought their best stuff on Wednesday night, allowing a run apiece through the first six frames, but a bit of a home run derby broke out late in the game.
Ford posted another impressive outing to add to her rookie résumé. Beginning with the final out in the second inning, Ford retired 11 straight Rebellion hitters shortly after giving up a solo shot to Rebellion right fielder Lexie Elkins that gave Pennsylvania a 1-0 lead. She went the distance, allowing just three runs and six hits in eight innings of work.
“That’s the type of game you are going to get from her,” Levin said. “She is going to keep you in the ballgame and give you an opportunity to win and that’s all you can ask for.”
Kramer kept the Racers off the scoreboard until the sixth inning, Schlopy aimed to put an end to the pitcher’s duel as she belted a home run clear over the fence in right-center field, which tied the game at 1-1 and gave her teammates the hope that they would feed off of later in the night. She was 0-2 with a pair of strikeouts heading into the at bat.
“I was just trying to slow the game down and take it one pitch at a time,” said Schlopy. “Also think about the adjustments I needed to make and just really try and get a base hit for the team and flush the first two at bats and start new.”
In the seventh inning, a leadoff walk by Elkins came around to score on a single by Rebellion third baseman Mandy Ogle, giving Pennsylvania the slight edge heading into the bottom of the seventh.
Akron once again displayed a relentless approach at the plate, as with two outs, second baseman Ashley Thomas (Georgia Tech) clobbered her second home run of the season and knotted the score 2-2 to send the game into extra innings.
“I would say our identity is resilience,” Thomas said. “We don’t want to go down. None of us like losing and we’re not going to go down without a fight, without scratching and clawing.”
The Racers will once again hit the road as they travel to Chicago for a two-game series with the Bandits, before taking on the Scrap Yard Dawgs for the first time ever in Houston on the Fourth of July.
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.
About the Akron Racers:
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.