Li Qi (Shougang Eagles) Courtesy of National Pro Fastpitch
Viera, FL (July 5, 2017) – It was another close battle dominated by pitchers at the Space Coast Stadium, as the Beijing Shougang (1-14) clashed against the Texas Charge (11-12) on Week 7 of the 2017 NPF Season. The Eagles kick-started the game in their very first at bat, while the Charge rallied back during mid-game. As the game rushed into the extras, Beijing clutched its first seasonal win, 2-1.
In the box, leading the Shougang firepower were Chen Jia, who collected three hits, and Liu Li Li, who snatched two. Third baseman Wang Bei ended the night with a 2-for-4 performance with two RBI. Bei batted in the leading run and concluded the game driving in the game-winning runner. In 29 at bats, the Eagles recorded eight hits for a game batting average of .276.
Li Qi earned her first seasonal win in the circle, as the pitcher faced 27 batters and struck out eight in eight complete innings pitched. Qi held the Texas Charge to solely three hits and allotted one run, baring her pitching accuracy with 74 strikes on 105 pitches.
Beijing opened up the game quickly, retiring the top of the Charge lineup with a 1-2-3 flash frame. In the home offensive half of the first, the Eagles reached the board with Jia singling up the middle and Bei driving her home on a single to right field to put Shougang ahead, 1-0.
In the bottom of the third, the Eagles reached the bases again. Liu Fei started the frame with a walk, while fellow teammate Li Li pushed her to second on a sharp single behind third base. However, a razor throw by Charge centerfielder Taylor Gadbois stopped Fei’s race to home and left Shougang scoreless.
In the top of the fourth, Texas erased the Beijing lead by snatching one run on an Eagles’ catcher uncertainty to tie the game up, 1-1.
Entering the bottom of the fifth with an even score, the Eagles put pressure on the Charge shoulders, delivering flawlessly placed bunts and clawing extra bases with exceptional speed on the bases. Although having runners in scoring position, former Gators pitcher Lauren Haeger ceased once again the Beijing offensive efforts.
As sixth and seventh went by blank for both dugouts, the game was dragged into the extra innings. In the bottom of the eighth, Li Li was allotted a free base on a hit-by-pitch and Jia followed up with a single to second base. The two runners proceeded to combine into a double steal and Bei flared a walk-off single down the right field line to seal the Eagles win, 2-1.
Shougang will head back to the diamond tomorrow, July 6 for a double header against the Scrapyard Dawgs and the USSSA Pride. Game 1 of the doubleheader is set for 5:05 p.m. EST.
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.