Keilani Ricketts (USSSA Pride) Courtesy of National Pro Fastpitch
Viera, FL (July 5, 2017) – Under a clear sky on Wednesday night, the USSSA Pride (15-3) found a roadblock in its reign atop the NPF standing after falling 1-0, in a nail-biter duel against the fifth ranked Scrapyard Dawgs (10-10) on home territory at the Space Coast Stadium. The 2016 Regular Season crown holder created an offensive momentum in multiple frames of the game, but the Dawgs pitching staff ceased the Prides scoring attempts.
At the plate, Crimson Tide alumnus Kelly Kretschman recorded her first seasonal triple, going 1-for-3 in tonight’s outing. Kretschman currently holds the first spot in the NPF leaderboard with an impressive batting average of .535, and sits first for on base percentage with a .667. The USSSA outfielder is also the absolute leader in the slugging percentage category, sitting on the crest of the ranking with a remarkable .930 average.
In the circle, Keilani Ricketts (1-1) suffered her first seasonal loss. The former Sooner struck out six on 30 batters faced in 6.2 innings pitched. Like Kretschman, Ricketts represents the Pride on the 2017 NPF leaderboard, detaining the record for ERA (.750) and strike percentage (74.074).
As the scoreboard remained bare for the first two innings with both Ricketts and Cheridan Hawkins wiping away all offensive efforts, the third saw the Scrap Yard Dawgs draw first blood with Brittany Cervantes batting in Brianna Cherry to put the Dawgs in the lead, 1-0.
The Pride did not hesitate to roar back, and in the home offensive half of the fourth, Kretschman led the USSSA rally shooting a triple down the right field line. Shelby Pendley was then granted with a free base, and was later joined on base by Gionna DiSalvatore. However, relief pitcher Morgan Foley held back the Prides offense, leaving the inning with its runners hanging on base.
Trailing by one, the USSSA kept fighting through in the fifth, reaching base once more. Rookie Mo Mercado jump-started the inning with a flared single to right field, and fellow teammate Courtney Ceo moved her to second with a sac bunt. Kristi Merritt then drove a fly ball to the deep right center, allowing Mercado to clinch third. Although Foley loaded the bases for the Pride, USSSA left another frame empty-handed.
As the seventh came around, the Dawgs put themselves on the board once more with another run to overlap the Pride, 2-0. In the action, center fielder Merritt limited the Scrap Yard Dawgs damage with an outstanding catch, reaching for the fence and elevating high to steal a deep shot from Taylor Edwards.
In the very last at bats, USSSA joined forces once again to hammer the Scrap Yard Dawgs defense in hopes of evening out the score, but eventually fell short, 2-0.
The Pride will step back in the Space Coast Stadium at 8:05 p.m. EST to face the Beijing Shougang before travelling to Miami.
The USSSA Florida Pride is a professional franchise in the National Pro Fastpitch League that is owned and operated by USSSA. The amateur organization of USSSA has multi-sport coverage and encompasses teams and players from the United States and abroad.
About National Pro Fastpitch (NPF):
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.
USSSA is headquartered in Osceola County, Florida. USSSA is the World’s Largest Multi-sport Athletic Organization. Founded in 1968, USSSA has grown to over 3.7 million participants, competing in 13 nationally sanctioned sports including Baseball, Fastpitch, Slow Pitch, Karate, Basketball, Soccer and more! For more information on USSSA and to register your team visit USSSA.com. Also be sure to visit USSSAToday.com for the latest USSSA.