Monica Abbott (Scrap Yard Dawgs) Photo by: Jade Hewitt courtesy of National Pro Fastpitch
Conroe, TX (June 17, 2017) It literally doesn’t get better than this in the NPF.
It was a battle of two of the league’s best hurlers in Monica Abbott for the Scrap Yard Dawgs and Keilani Ricketts for the USSSA Pride. This time it was Abbott and the Dawgs who came out on top, 4-1 in Conroe on Saturday.
Abbott’s only blemish was a solo shot to right field by Lauren Chamberlain in the top of the seventh to give the Pride its lone run of the game. The complete-game win included 15 strike outs and a pair of walks.
The loss is the Pride’s first since losing its second game of the season on June 9.
By the end of the fourth inning, Abbott had fanned ten Pride batters - with only two outs recorded via the Dawg defense. The Santa Cruz, Calif. native has amassed 40 Ks in four games for the Dawgs in 2017. Her ERA dipped to 0.88, behind only the Charge’s Ally Carda in the league.
The Dawgs pushed across two runs in the bottom of the second inning to take the lead. Meagan May-Whitley was plunked by a Ricketts offering to reach first base. Olivia Watkins entered for May-Whitley as a pinch-runner and reached third off a Britt Vonk double down the third base line. Watkins and Vonk scored when Kiki Stokes’s ground ball was bobbled by Pride short stop Nicole Pendley and dribbled into center.
Vonk has continued to be an issue for opposing defenses with a team-best eight RBIs on the year and a .666 slugging percentage.
“Anytime you face someone like Ricketts – who is probably a top three or four pitcher in the league, our goal was just to have quality bats all the way through. We were able to get some free passes, I think we had a couple of hit by pitches and we did enough with the offense to get some big hits,” Dawgs coach Jimmy Kolaitis said. “Vonk had a big hit down the line and Kiki (Stokes) had a big hit up the middle. We just talk about two strikes just competing and putting the ball in play.”
Nerissa Myers helped keep Abbott’s no-hitter chances intact on what appeared to be a base hit to right in the top of the fifth inning. The Petal, Miss. native scooped up the Chelsea Goodacre grounder in shallow right field and got it to Alisa Goler in time for the first out of the inning. After, it was business as usual for Abbott, who got another strikeout and a fly ball out to end the inning.
The offense chalked up a pair of insurance runs half an inning later. With two outs, Goler snaked a ball down the third base line for a single. Vonk’s ground ball was fielded cleanly by Ricketts, but the throw to first base sailed down the first base line, scoring Goler from first base for the 3-0 lead. The Dawgs tacked on its last run of the night on a single by Christian Stokes that scored Vonk from third base.
That would do it for Ricketts, who allowed four runs on five hits. The University of Oklahoma product struck out two and walked two in four and two-thirds innings of work.
The win puts the Dawgs back in the win column after dropping two straight and evened the two-game series against the Pride.
“I think the pitching match-up was probably not just two of the best in the league, but the world. To see those two compete against each other – as a softball fan – it’s a lot of fun,” Kolaitis said.
The Dawgs are back at it at the Scrap Yard on Tuesday against the visiting Chicago Bandits. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.
* Attendance- 198
* Game Time- 1:50
*Vaultz® Lock It Up® Player of the Game- Monica Abbott (Scrap Yard Dawgs) 15 strikeouts and allowing only 1 run
The Scrap Yard Dawgs began competition in the National Pro Fastpitch league in 2016. The Dawgs provides elite softball players the opportunity to pursue a professional career and inspire the next generation of professionals. Located in the Houston area, the Dawgs organization and its players are committed to demonstrating leadership in community involvement, entertainment, and professionalism. Follow the Dawgs at www.scrapyarddawgs.com or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
National Pro Fastpitch (NPF), an Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball since 2004, provides elite female athletes with an opportunity to pursue a professional career in fastpitch softball beyond their collegiate and amateur success. The NPF affiliate teams consist of the Akron Racers, Beijing Shougang Eagles, Chicago Bandits, Scrap Yard Dawgs, Texas Charge and USSSA Florida Pride for the 2017 season. National Pro Fastpitch players hail from the United States, Australia, Canada and China among which are the most accomplished and talented athletes in the sport of women’s softball.