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2017 NPF

Championship Series

August 17-20

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Racers Beat Denso Japan on Wootson Walk-Off

Akron, Ohio - For the second night in a row the Akron Racers and Denso Japan battled evenly to the end, this time with Akron coming out on top 3-2.

After a back and forth contest, the score was tied at two heading to the bottom of the seventh. Ianeta Le'i singled to left field to start the inning. After Racer manager Shonda Stanton put in the speedy Sara Zilles to run for Le'i, Caitlin Benyi laid down the perfect bunt to sacrifice Zilles to second base.

After a walk put runners on first and second with one out, lead off hitter, Veronica Wootson hit a chopper that bounced through the infield into centerfield. The hit scored Zilles from second base and won the game for the Racers (15-8).

Denso Japan jumped out to the first lead of the game, in the top of the first when lead off hitter Yuri Masuyama scored on a single to centerfield by Kumi Kinugasa.

As would be the pattern for the game, Akron answered with the first opportunity they had. In the bottom of the first inning with two outs, centerfielder Iyhia McMichael smashed a home run to leftfield to tie the game at one. Kristin Johnson hit another round-tripper in the bottom of the second inning to straight-away centerfield, giving the Racers their first lead of the game at 2-1.

Japan wouldn't let that lead last. In the top of the third inning, third baseman Mayuko Matsuo scored on a double steal attempt, when shortstop Kristin Johnson couldn't handle the throw from catcher Jenn Poore.

Defense and pitching took over from there until the Racers game-ending rally.

Starter Radara McHugh (7-3) only allowed one hit in the final four innings shutting down Denso's offense on her way to her seventh victory of the season. The Akron starter's final line was two runs, one earned, on five hits and two walks in seven innings.

McHugh got some assistance from the defense along the way as left fielder Caitlin Benyi made a leaping catch as she crashed through the outfield fence in the top of the fourth, robbing Minako Tanaka of a home run that would have broken the 2-2 tie.

Catcher Jenn Poore ended Japan's hopes in the top of the seventh inning on another great defensive play as she dove out to catch a short foul ball by Masuyama with two outs and a runner on second base.

For Japan, Yuki Katayama picks up the loss giving up three runs on seven hits in 6.1 innings.

The Racers and Denso Japan finish off their four game series tomorrow afternoon at 12:05 P.M.

For more information contact the Akron Racers at (330)376-8188.

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