Emily Weiman Pitching (Akron Racers) Courtesy of National Pro Fastpitch
AKRON, OH (June 29, 2017)– Akron Racers starting pitcher Emily Weiman silenced the Chicago Bandit offense and the Racer bats supplied enough offense to earn the 3-0 victory on Thursday night. Akron won their second consecutive series at Firestone Stadium, taking two of three games from Chicago, and improved to 5-2 at home this season.
Weiman came out with another strong outing at home. Weiman went four-plus innings, allowing only four hits and striking out two Bandit hitters. Weiman earned her second victory of the season, bringing her record to 2-1 on the year, and was named the Lock It Up Player of the Game presented by Vaultz for the second time in as many starts.
“Obviously it was a pitchers’ duel,” Weiman said. “It was a game where you can’t make too many mistakes. I just kept telling myself, ‘trust my defense, trust my catcher.’ Just executing the game plan is what I was trying to do, and I felt really good.”
With Chicago starter Lacey Waldrop also looking sharp for much of the game, Akron had to fight to grab the lead in the bottom of the second inning. Catcher Griffin Joiner came through with a clutch two out hit, lining a single back up the middle to move third baseman Kelley Montalvo into scoring position. Left fielder Kristen Wyckoff then delivered a blow, blooping a line drive down the right field line for a single to plate Montalvo for the first run of the game.
After a leadoff single in the top of the fifth inning by Chicago shortstop Abby Ramirez, Racer Field Manager Charlotte Morgan turned to Jailyn Ford out of the bullpen. Ford threw a shutout inning in the fifth.
The Racers struck again in the bottom of the fifth inning, tacking on two insurance runs. Center fielder A.J. Andrews led off the inning with a bang, blasting a solo home run to left field. It was Andrews’ first home run of the season. After Akron second baseman Ashley Thomas reached on a two-base throwing error by Waldrop and advance to third base on a wild pitch, shortstop Sami Fagan brought Thomas home with a sacrifice fly to right field, push the Racers’ lead to 3-0.
"I feel good coming out of tonight. I think that we started to get on a roll. I think we started playing looser towards the end, and it showed,” Andrews said. “I think that's something we have to bring and keep going with. Just try to be loose and have fun."
Shortly after the sacrifice fly that scored Thomas, lightning and rain forced a weather delay and eventually forced the game to be called as an official game.
Ford earned her first save of the season. Bandit’s starter Lacey Waldrop is credited with the loss, dropping her record to 3-2 for the year.
“We knew we had to get a win tonight to take the series,” Weiman explained. “I think our energy was really good, I think we had really good at bats, we kept plugging away, and we played great defense.”
The victory moves the Racers to 9-9 for the season, pushing them into a tie with the Texas Charge for fourth place in the NPF. The Charge come to Akron this weekend with the first game of the three-game series scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Friday night. The loss drops the Bandits to 12-11. Chicago’s next game will come on July 3with a rematch against the Racers, this time at the Bandits home field, Ballpark in Rosemont.
About the Akron Racers: The Akron Racers, headquartered in Akron, OH, are the oldest existing team in the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) league. The Racers will celebrate their 16th season of play in 2017. 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.
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.