AKRON, OH – August 10, 2013 – The Akron Racers struggled all game to quiet the Chicago Bandits batters. The Bandits jumped out to a 5-0 lead early in the game and the Racers couldn’t figure out how to respond until too late. The Racers bats finally came alive in the seven innings and the team scored three runs, but they were unable to get the victory. Michelle Gascoigne got the win and boosted her record to a perfect 6-0. Erin Arevalo received the loss and her record fell to 0-4.
Chicago was able to get on the board quickly; Arevalo allowed Nerissa Myers to earn a leadoff single in the first inning. Myers was out on a fielder’s choice hit by Eri Yamada but Alisa Goler smacked a bomb to centerfield to give the Bandits an early 2-0 lead. Kristen Butler followed the home run with a walk and Tammy Williams hit a slow tapper along the right field line to put two on before Amber Patton also walked to load the bases. Kimi Pohlman hit a two run double to right field and boosted the Bandit’s lead to 4-0. Arevalo was able to get Brittany Cervantes out on strikes, but on her second pitch to Danielle Zymkowitz, she threw a wild pitch and Patton came home from third to give the Bandits a 5-0 lead at the end of the first inning.
Myers led off again in the second inning after the Bandits hit through the lineup in the first. She fired a long one towards centerfield but Taylor Schlopy was able to track the ball down right in front of the fence for the first out. Yamada reached first on a one out walk and Jen Mineau came in to the circle to relieve Arevalo. However, Arevalo would return in the sixth inning and finished the game with a line of six runs on six hits, walking four and striking out one.
Mineau was able to the first batter out for the second out in the inning, but Butler made it to first on a single and Williams brought Yamada home from second on a long single to give the Bandits a 6-0 lead.
After the Racers went down 1, 2, 3 in their half of the first inning, Kaylyn Castillo gave Akron its first hit of the game in the second inning - a hard hit single into left field. But the Racers were unable to make any noise after the hit as the next three batters were all put out.
The Bandits bats kept rolling in the third inning. Brigette Del Ponte made a spectacular diving catch at shortstop to turn Pohlman into the first out. But Cervantes responded by sending a long ball of her own deep past the right field fence to boost the Banidts lead to 7-0.
The Racers struggled to take advantage of their opportunities throughout the game. In the third inning, Ayumi Karino reached on an error when she just beat Williams' throw to first. With one on and one out, Schlopy earned the Racers second hit of the game – a single into right field. Kelley Montalvo popped up for the second out, but Gascoigne walked Charlotte Morgan on four straight pitches. With the bases loaded, Castillo was unable to take advantage of the opportunity and hit a slow roller to first for the final out of the inning. In the fifth inning, the Racers had runners in the corners but Morgan popped out into foul territory to end the inning and stranded the two runners.
Yamada started off the fourth inning with a leadoff walk. Mineau countered by striking out Goler to rack up her first strikeout of the game. But Butler followed the strikeout with an RBI single to bring Yamada home and give Chicago an 8-0 lead.
Aja Paculba led off the fifth inning with a single into right field. Karino laid down a bunt that danced along the right field line, but she was thrown out at first while Paculba advanced to second. Montalvo, on the other hand, was able to beat the throw to first in her at bat. Montalvo’s single put runners on the corners for Morgan but the slugger popped out in foul territory to end the inning.
In the sixth inning, Arevalo came back into the circle and even though she allowed two hits in the inning, she managed to keep the Bandits scoreless in the inning. Mineau gave up two runs on six hits in 3.2 innings, along with one walk and one strikeout.
In the bottom half of the sixth inning, the Racers were finally able to get on the board. Castillo started the inning with a leadoff single and Sam Marder followed with a walk. However, Marder was called out at second on a fielder’s choice hit by Del Ponte to put runners on the corners for Paculba. Paculba managed to drop one just fair along the right field line and bring both Castillo and Del Ponte home to bring the score to 8-2.
The Racers saved their best for last, but it just wasn’t enough to over come the six run deficit. Schlopy started off the bottom of the seventh inning with a leadoff walk and Montalvo followed with a single, which brought Morgan to the plate with two on and no outs. Morgan walked on four straight pitches and the Racers loaded the bases for the second time in the game. Nikki Nemitz came in to relieve Gascoigne and walked to Castillo to keep the bases loaded and bring Schlopy home to score. Gascoigne pitched 6.0 innings and gave up five runs on eight hits, walked four and struck out one. Marder hit a roller to second and the Bandits were able to turn the double play even though, Montalvo scored from third to bring the score to 8-4 and Jessica Garcia brought Morgan home from third on a two out single to close the gap to 8-5. Del Ponte hit a lazy pop up that landed just behind the circle and was able to beat the throw to first to put two on and bring Paculba to the plate as the winning run. But Paculba hit a grounder to the shortstop who was able to make the throw to first in time to end the game. Nemitz pitched 1.0 inning, gave up two hits, and walked one.
The Racers and Bandits will 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 provider for more information. The Racers will begin a four-game home series against the NY/NJ Comets on Thursday, August 15 at 7:05 pm.
SITE: Firestone Stadium
SCORE: Racers 5, Bandits 8
RECORDS: Racers (14-28), Bandits (32-10)
NEXT RACERS GAME: Saturday, August 10 @ 7:05 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.
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Written by Ben Schwartz for the Akron Racers