Picture by Allie Martinez Courtesy of National Pro Fastpitch
AKRON, OH (July 2, 2017) – The Akron Racers wound up on the wrong side of an impromptu fireworks display by the offenses from Akron and the Texas Charge Sunday evening, resulting in a 13-6 loss to the Charge in the final matchup of the three-game series.
In a slug fest that saw the Charge hit five home runs compared to four by Akron, the Racers fell behind early and could not catch up late in the game.
Texas went to work and eventually built a 10-0 lead midway through the fourth inning. The big blow came in the top of the second inning. After Akron starter Rachele Fico walked the bases loaded, second baseman Kylee Lahners singled to bring home Mysha Sataraka from third. The Charge came through with multiple clutch two-out hits, beginning with a two-run single by center fielder Taylor Gadbois, scoring catcher Krystyn Sandberg and Lahners to put the Charge up 4-0. Right fielder Bailey Landry slammed a two-run home run to right field to inflate the Texas lead to 6-0. After Alexis Silkwood entered the circle in relief of Fico, Lauren Haeger followed with a homer of her own, her second of the ball game, to put Texas ahead 7-0.
“I just think we didn’t start strong in the circle,” Akron Field Manager Charlotte Morgan said. “If we give up a run or two runs that’s fine, but when you have a big inning and let six runs it kind of gets out of hand.”
Haeger ended the game 3-for-4 with two home runs, and also picked up the victory, throwing four innings, allowing two runs on five hits to be named the Vaultz Lock It Up Player of the Game.
The Charge added one more run in the third, as Lahners came through with another RBI single, scoring left fielder Koral Costa from second to push the Texas lead to eight runs. They plated two more runs in the fourth inning with a Nadia Taylor infield single scoring Breja’e Washington, and a sacrifice fly by Missy Taukeiaho to score Brittany Gomez, giving Texas the 10-0 advantage.
The Racers were finally able to crack the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth inning. After right fielder Jenny Gilbert reached on a lead-off double, first baseman Nicole Schroeder blasted a home run to right-center field to cut the deficit to 10-2.
After a Kylee Lahners solo home run in the fifth inning pushed the score to 11-2, Akron responded with two more runs of their own. After left fielder Shellie Robinson led off the inning with a single, Jenny Gilbert stayed hot, smacking another Racers two-run homer to cut the deficit to 11-4. Gilbert was 2-3 at the plate with a walk, double, and home run.
After Racers’ reliever Laura Winter set the Charge down in order in the sixth, Texas plated two final runs in the seventh inning on a two-run homer by Breja’e Washington, to make the score 13-4.
The Racers tried their best to mount a comeback in the bottom of the seventh inning via the long ball. Maddy Grimm hit a pinch hit solo homer making the score 13-5. Grimm is 4-for-5 with three home runs at Firestone Stadium this season.
Schroeder followed with a solo shot of her own, her second of the ball game, to arrive at the final score of 13-6. Schroeder finished the game 2-3 with a walk and two home runs. Fico was given the loss dropping her record to 1-1.
The Racers took the series 2-1, winning all three multi-game series during their first home stand of the season, while compiling a 7-3 record at home in 2017.
“The positive, we still won the series, which is huge,” Morgan explained. “You always want to win the last game, especially when we are going on the road, but I’ll take this team any day. They fight. They fight every pitch.”
Texas (10-11) will travel to Florida to take on the Beijing Shougang Eagles on Tuesday. The Racers (11-10) will quickly travel to Chicago to take on the Bandits on Monday and Tuesday. Both games in Chicago will be streamed on NPF TV. Akron will return home to face the Bandits for a two-game series beginning on Friday, July 8 with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. For ticket information contact the Racers box office at 330-376-8188 or visit the team’s website at www.akronracers.org.
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.