Kayla Winkfield (Scrap Yard Dawgs) Photo by Jade Hewitt Courtesy of National Pro Fastpitch
Conroe, TX (July 16, 2017) - Welcome to the NPF, Kasey Cooper.
Just signed 48 hours prior, the former Auburn Tiger and USA Team member’s walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the seventh helped the Dawgs defeat the Chicago Bandits, 7-6 in the second game of a doubleheader. The Bandits took the first game of the twin bill, 5-0.
Down 6-5 going into the final frame, Nerissa Myers drew a leadoff walk to start the rally for the Dawgs. A sacrifice by Taylor Edwards put Myers at second to bring up Brittany Cervantes. The former Kentucky Wildcat’s single scored Myers from second base to tie the game at 6-6. Bandits pitcher Shelby Turnier wanted nothing to do with the bat of Katiyana Mauga and issued the Arizona product a free pass. A double steal by pinch runners Britt Vonk and Kiki Stokes put runners at second and third for Cooper, who ripped a single to right to end the game. It was Cooper’s first professional hit and RBI.
“Coach Jimmy (Kolaitis) and I just talked about her screwballs and how those had been over the plate and would be the best pitch to hit,” Cooper said. “But I just came to the plate looking for something to drive and Coach Glasco pulled me aside before the at-bat and told me to remember that I’m a great hitter and that no matter if you get the job done or not just remember that. So having that confidence I went in with a little bit of, ‘I can do this…’”
Cervantes keeps finding ways to get one base and against the Bandits, drawing two walks and getting a single in the second game for the Dawgs.
The Bandits came into the top of the third down 5-4. Back-to-back homers by Emily Crane and Sahvanna Jaquish erased the Dawgs lead and put the Bandits up 6-5.
Both offenses came to play in the second game. The Dawgs struck first, scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning. Myers reached first base after being hit by a Haylie Wagner pitch. Edwards then ripped a ball over the wall in center field for the two-run home run. The former Nebraska Cornhusker’s bomb was her third of the year for RBIs 13 and 14.
The Bandits were quick to respond, however, answering back with four runs in the top of the second for a 4-2 advantage. With one out, Emily Crane singled to left field. Jaquish moved Crane to second on a base hit up the middle. Danielle Zymkowitz followed suit with a single of her own to score Crane to cut the lead to 2-1. Abby Ramirez’s base hit to left scored Jaquish and an error in the field for the Dawgs cleared the bases and left the Bandits with a 4-2 lead.
The Dawgs offense wasn’t fazed, though and punched the Bandits right back a half inning later. Hannah Flippen singled to right with one out to start the rally for the Dawgs. Morgan Zerkle then laid a beautiful bunt right in front of home plate to advance Flippen. The Marshall product beat out the throw at first for the single. Kayla Winkfield reached when Bandit shortstop Ramirez couldn’t handle the ground ball, loading the bases for Allexis Bennett. The former UCLA Bruin muscled a ball to right center for the RBI single to score Flippen and cut the lead to 4-3. Myers drew a bases-loaded walk for her 16th RBI of the season and to tie the score at 4-4. Edwards used a sacrifice fly to score Zerkle to take the 5-4 lead. Edwards had 3 RBI in the second game for the Dawgs.
Monica Abbott grabbed her tenth win of the season in the second game, in relief. The lefty struck out two in the seventh inning. Miranda Kramer allowed four runs on five hits in 1.1 innings of work. Rachel Fox and Cheridan Hawkins also tossed 4.2 innings in relief, combining for two runs on two hits. Hawkins struck out one.
Turnier took the loss for the Bandits in game two. In 1.1 innings of relief, Turnier allowed three runs on two hits striking out three and walking a pair.
In the first game of the twin bill, the Bandits got on the board in the top of the second inning. With one out, Abby Ramirez took a ball right up the gut for a base hit. Sahvanna Jaquish was hit by a Morgan Melloh pitch to put two on for Megan Blank. The former Iowa Hawkeye singled to right to load the bases for Taylore Fuller, who was hit by the pitch. The free pass scored Ramirez for the first run of the game. Fuller went 1-of-2 on the day with a pair of RBIs. The Trenton, Fla. native homered to dead center in the top of the sixth inning to give the Bandits some insurance. The Bandits pushed across runs in the second, third, sixth and seventh innings in the win.
Myers, Vonk, Kayla Winkfield, Christian Stokes and Amanda Kamekona each had hits for the Dawgs. The Dawgs left six runners on base in the first game.
In the circle for the Bandits, Danielle O’Toole was dynamic in her NPF debut, not allowing a run in five innings of work. The University of Arizona product allowed five hits and struck out three in getting the win. For the Dawgs, Melloh was charged with the loss, allowing three runs on eight hits. The Fishers, Ind. native struck out three in 4.2 innings. Relievers Morgan Foley and Cheridan Hawkins each allowed a run for the Dawgs.
The Dawgs take a brief break before returning to action on Friday to face Beijing Shougang for two games in Sugarland. First pitch is set for 3:30 with the second game at 7:00.
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.