AKRON, OH – The host Akron Racers ruined the Dallas Charge's debut at Firestone Stadium on Friday night in a 1-0 victory behind stellar performances by leftfielder Jessica Garcia (New Mexico) and starting pitcher Sarah Pauly.
On Jessica Garcia Bobble Head Night, the leftfielder delivered a clutch performance both at bat and in the field. In the bottom of the first inning, Garcia drove in Akron centerfielder Taylor Schlopy (Georgia) to give the Racers (14-14) a 1-0 lead.
“Tonight was awesome, we really had a lot of support from the fans, my family was even in the audience,” Garcia said. “It was a great feeling.”
Garcia also prevented what could have been the biggest threat by Dallas (10-20) in the top of the fifth inning. With two outs, Charge centerfielder Eri Yamada hit a fly ball to shallow left field, Garcia made a diving catch that prevented an extra base hit and ended the inning.
“Nothing was really going on in my mind when I caught that ball. I saw a ball and just knew I had to catch it,” Garcia explained.
Outside of Garcia's RBI single in the first inning the game was dominated by Pauly (Texas A&M - Corpus Christi) and Dallas pitcher Jolene Henderson.
Pauly (7-2) earned the complete game shutout victory, holding the Charge at bay for the entire night. She surrendered just four hits, struck out three and gave up no walks.
“The last two times I faced them I wasn’t on my best game, and tonight I wanted to be certain I was,” Pauly said. "My main goal was to keep them off balance and off the bases."
Pauly got stronger as the night went on retiring the last 10 Dallas hitters in order and never allowed multiple runners on base at any time, punctuating the game with a strike out of Charge pinch hitter Angeline Quiocho to end the game.
“Right there in the first inning Jessica Garcia set the tone for the game, giving us that winning run. That helped give us the lead early.” Coach Brian Levin said.
After the first inning, Henderson matched Pauly pitch for pitch, but the Racers already had all the support they would need. Henderson (2-6) did not allow a runner to get past first base after the first inning, giving up just two hits and walks on the evening. Henderson retired eight of the last nine hitters she faced, striking out six hitters for the game.
Akron will host Dallas for the second game of the series Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. at Firestone Stadium.
Location – Firestone Stadium
1575 Firestone Pkwy
Akron, OH 44301
Final Score – Akron Racers 1, Dallas Charge 0
Records – Akron Racers 14-14, Dallas Charge 10-20
Next Racers Game – Saturday, July 18 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