Akron, OH-June 23- It was a steamy night in Akron, Ohio as the USSSA Pride and Akron Racers squared off for the rubber match of their three-game series before a live television audience on CBS Sports Network for the second night in a row. The Pride took game one with a 6-2 decision over the hometown team on Sunday afternoon. The Racers evened the series at 1-1with an inspired performance over the Pride’s ace, Cat Osterman, 2-0, before a packed house at historic Firestone Stadium.
The Racers’ Alison Owen and the Pride’s Chelsea Thomas took to the circle for their respective teams for the teams second night on CBS Sports Network.
The Akron Racers (6-8) defeated the USSSA Pride (6-4) live on CBS Sports Network back-to-back, 3-2. The Racers took the series two games to one over the reigning NPF Champion, USSSA Pride.
Kelly Kretshman (Alabama) slammed a solo home run to center field to put the Pride up by one in the top half of the first inning.
In the bottom of the first, starter, Chelsea Thomas (Missouri) struck out Jill Barrett (Tulsa) for the first out of the inning. Taylor Schlopy (Georgia) walked but was doubled off first base after Nerissa Myers (Louisiana-Lafayette) lined out to the pitcher.
Amanda Kamekona singled and Bridgette Del Ponte (Arizona) followed with a doubled to center field in the second inning plating Kamekona to improve the Pride lead 2-0.
The Racers went three-up and three down in the second inning.
Lisa Norris entered the game in relief of Owen in the top of the third. The Pride followed in the bottom half of the inning by sending Andrea Williamson (Marshall) in to replace Chelsea Thomas.
Coach Brian Levin revealed that Norris was not meant to stay in for the remainder of the game.
“She was just so dominating and was locked in,” Levin said. “She knew she wasn’t going to get beat.”
In the third inning, Haley Outon (Houston) singled and Cassie Tysarczyk grounded out to second base allowing Outon to move to second on the fielder’s choice. Jill Barrett singled to left scoring Outon for the Racers first run of the game.
In the bottom of the fourth, Outon was hit by the pitch and moved to second on a passed ball. Tysarczyk walked and Outon stole third base. Thomas delivered a sharply hit shot to centerfield scoring Outon from third tying the game, 2-2.
Norris would dominate the game in the circle for the Racers. Her movement and control would stymie the powerful Pride lineup.
The Pride made another pitching change in the bottom of the sixth bringing in Jordan Taylor (Michigan) to finish out the game. Thomas and Barrett both singled to place Thomas in scoring position at second base. The red-hot Taylor Schlopy delivered what would become the game-winning hit to drive in Thomas for the 3-2 Racers advantage heading into the top of the seventh inning.
In the top of the seventh, it was the veteran Norris taking command of the game. Del Pointe ground out to Montalvo for out number one. Norris then struck out pinch hitters Madison Shipman and Chelsea Goodacre to defeat the Pride, 3-2.
“I’m just happy I could help my team out,” Thomas said. “Everybody in this league is good, so every now and then you get in a period where you’re like ‘Can I get the ball through the infield?’ My main goal for tonight was move the runners when I had the chance.”
“I thought today’s win was really big for us, especially coming off of yesterday,” Schlopy said, “We carried momentum over and we’re really coming together as a team.”
The winning pitcher was Lisa Norris who retired 13 of the last 14 batters, while the losing pitcher was Jordan Taylor. The Racers finished with three runs and seven hits, and the Pride with two runs and four hits.
Location – Firestone Stadium
1575 Firestone Pkwy
Akron, OH 44301
Final Score – 3 – 2 Racers
Records – Akron Racers 6-8, USSSA Pride 6-4
Next Racers Game – Thursday, June 25 at 7:05pm
About the Akron Racers: The Akron Racers, headquartered in Akron, OH, is 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 14th season of play in 2015.
About National Pro Fastpitch:
National Pro Fastpitch is headquartered in Nashville, TN. The league, created to give elite female fast pitch 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 fast pitch softball since 2002. www.profastpitch.com