Keilani Ricketts (USSSA Pride) Courtesy of National Pro Fastpitch
Viera, FL (August 1, 2017) – After 11 days on the road, the USSSA Pride (30-8) returned home to face the Texas Charge (20-22) for a two-day series. On a breezy Tuesday evening, the Pride started off the week-long home series throttling past the Charge, 4-1. An early lead and an impeccable pitching performance sealed the 30th seasonal win for USSSA, securing its first spot among the NPF Standings.
In the circle, Kelsey Nunley (8-1) led the Pride to another win, striking out four in five innings pitched and containing the Charge lineup to a .350 game batting average. In the season, Nunley accumulated 48 strikeouts in 54 innings pitched for a cumulative ERA of 2.24. Among the NPF leaderboard, Kelsey currently sits in seventh for striking percentage with a 66.8 average.
Entering in the fifth with bases loaded, Keilani Ricketts (8-3) shut down the Charge bats with a quick 1-2-3 frame, and recorded two strikeouts in three innings pitched to earn her first seasonal save.
Leading the Pride firepower, Kelly Kretschman proved yet again why she is one of the main offensive leaders for the 2017 season. The right fielder ended the night with a 2-for-3 performance, pushing in one RBI and recording a double. Before Tuesdays game, Kretschman detained a batting average of .489 with an on base percentage of .618 and holds an outstanding slugging percentage of .804. After tonight, the Indian Harbour native counts 47 hits, 18 RBI, 11 doubles and 5 home runs.
In the evening outing, the Pride bats were on fire, as the Viera-based lineup gathered 7 hits and four runs with three doubles and one home run. At the current time, USSSA holds a team batting average of .296 with 178 RBI and 308 hits.
As the Pride defense quickly retired the Charge in its very first at bats, USSSA kick-started the game in the bottom of the first, where Sierra Romero drove home her 28th seasonal RBI to put the Pride ahead, 1-0. Hallie Wilson then followed up pushing another runner home for USSSA to enlarge the lead, 2-0.
After a blank second and third, the Pride burst again in the bottom of the fourth when Kirsti Merritt blasted her third home run to extend the USSSA stretch, 3-0. In the same offensive half, 2016 NPF Player of Year Kretschman kept the USSSA offense rolling, hitting a double to left center bringing Wiggins home to make the score 4-0.
As the fifth came around, the Charge managed to load the bases, but a flawless performance by Ricketts and a double play by the combo of Andrea Duran and Mandy Perez ceased the Texas offense. However, the Charge grabbed solely one run to reduce the gap, 4-1. Moving past the sixth with an unchanged score, the Pride fastened the win in the seventh, as Ricketts and the USSSA defense came together to close the game, 4-1.
Next up, the Pride will be back at the Space Coast Stadium tomorrow to face the Charge in Game 2 of the series. Teams will lineup at 7:05 ET.
National Pro Fastpitch is headquartered in Nashville, TN. The league, created to give elite female fastpitch players the opportunity to pursue a professional career in their chosen sport, has operated since 1997 under the names of Women’s Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Women’s Pro Softball League (WPSL). NPF is the Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball in the category of women’s fastpitch softball since 2002.
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.