AKRON, OH – August 9, 2013 – It would have been understandable if Racers fans thought they were in Knoxville, Tennessee after looking at the pitching lineup tonight. The former Lady Vol and NPF veteran, Monica Abbott, took the circle for the Chicago Bandits, while the former Lady Vol and NPF rookie, Ivy Renfroe pitched for Akron. But, it was the veteran who got the best of the rookie in Chicago’s 3-1 victory in tonight’s game.
Ivy Renfroe got off to a shaky start – she began the game by hitting Chicago’s leadoff batter, Megan Wiggins, on the third pitch of the game. She was able to get the next two batters out, but then Kristen Butler hit a long single into right field to bring Wiggins home and give the Bandits an early 1-0 lead.
However, Renfroe became more comfortable as the game progressed; she went three up–three down in the second inning. In the third, she gave up a leadoff hit to Kazuki Watanabe and a two out single to Alisa Goler but did not allow the Bandits to capitalize, even after Watanabe stole third. Renfroe gave up five hits in the next five innings, but she was able to hold the Bandits to just one run.
Throughout the game, the Racers struggled to take advantage of leadoff hits in their innings. Kaylyn Castillo lead off with a double in the second inning to give the Racers their first hit of the game but after Sam Marder struck out, Jessica Garcia hit into a double play to end the inning. In the bottom of the third, Brigette Del Ponte led off the team with a long double into centerfield. Then, she made it to third on a passed ball before Aja Paculba reached on a walk to put Racers on the corners for Ayumi Karino but Karino flew out to third for the first out. Then Paculba was caught trying to steal second and Taylor Schlopy struck out for the final out.
Finally, with two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning, Castillo sent a long one over the centerfield fence and tied the game at 1-1. But Abbott responded to the homer with her third strike out of the game as she sent Marder back to the dugout on four pitches.
But in the top of the sixth inning, Butler lead off for the Bandits and was able to take Renfroe to a full count before she sent a ball deep past the centerfield fence to give the Bandits a 2-1 lead. Tammy Williams followed the homerun with a long double before Rachele Fico came in on relief pitching. Renfroe threw for 5.0 innings and allowed three runs on eight hits, while walking none and striking out one.
Fico was able to turn Amber Patton into the first out, but Williams advanced to third on the play. She followed by walking Kimi Pohlman and with runners on the corners, Nerissa Myers laid down a bunt to bring Williams in to score. The Bandits held onto their 3-1 lead for the rest of the game. Fico pitched 2.0 innings of scoreless ball and had just one hit, a walk, and zero strikeouts.
Throughout the game, Renfroe and Fico got a great deal of help from the Racers gloves. Schlopy and Karino made a couple great catches in the outfield and Kelley Montalvo and Del Ponte made some solid stops in the infield.
Monica Abbott threw for seven innings and gave up one run on three hits to go along with two walks and seven strike outs. However, Abbott received a lot of help from her fielders, as well. In the Racers half of the first inning, Taylor Schlopy almost tied the game at one run apiece, but she was robbed of a home run as Pohlman snagged the ball right as it made it over the left field fence. Williams played solid defense at shortstop and made some nice stops and Amber Patton made a great diving catch at third to record an out in foul territory.
The Racers return to action tomorrow, Saturday, August 10 against the Chicago Bandits for a two game double header. The first game will be the rescheduled game from Thursday which was called due to the weather and it begins at 4:05 pm. The second game is the originally scheduled 7:05 game. The Racers and Bandits will also play again in their last regular season game on Sunday at 2:05. The Sunday game will be taped and rebroadcast on the Time Warner Sports channel. Check your cable proider for more information.
- Renfroe was charged with the loss and her record dropped to 3-7. Monica Abbott received the win and her record improved to 15-4.
- Kaylyn Castillo, who scored the Racers only run, went 2-2 with 1 run and 1 RBI.
- The Racers are 1-13 against the Bandits this season.
SITE: Firestone Stadium
SCORE: Racers 1, Bandits 3
RECORDS: Racers (14-27), Bandits (31-10)
NEXT RACERS GAME: Saturday, August 10 @ 4:05 p.m. vs. Chicago Bandits
About the Akron Racers: The Akron Racers, headquartered in Akron, OH, are the oldest existing team in the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) league. The Racers competed in the Women's Pro Softball League (WPSL) for two seasons in 1999 and 2000 and in the NPF since 2004. Historic Firestone Stadium is home to the Racers and numerous amateur events at all levels of play. The Racers kick off their 11th season of play in 2012.
About National Pro Fastpitch: 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.
--- RACERS ---
Written by Ben Schwartz for the Akron Racers