(Courtesy of USSSA Pride)
SOUTH BEND, IND. — Taking on the USSSA Pride at the University of Notre Dame Wednesday night, the Akron Racers got off to a slow start and despite a home run by centerfielder Taylor Schlopy (Georgia), were unable to recover in a 5-2 defeat at the hands of the Pride.
In the bottom of the first inning, cleanup hitter Lauren Chamberlain hit a two-run home run, giving the Pride (36-13) a two-run lead and setting the mood for the game. Fast forward to the second inning, Pride veteran Kelly Kretschman hit a two-run homer of her own to make the score 4-0. It stayed that way until the sixth inning.
Starting pitcher Chelsea Thomas seemed to be getting tired in the sixth inning. She walked AJ Andrews to start the inning and immediately gave up a two-run home run to Schlopy on a 1-0 count after throwing a wild pitch for the first pitch of the at-bat. She got Sandra Simmons to ground out in the next at bat, but that would be it for Thomas. Jordan Taylor, the reliable closer, came in to finish the game. She got the next two batters out.
The Pride tacked on another run in the bottom of the sixth inning for good measure. Rookies Haylie McCleney and Kelsey Stewart put themselves on base - McCleney with a hit and Stewart with a hit-by-pitch - to lead off the inning. Courtney Ceo bunted them into scoring position. Keilani Ricketts got a rare opportunity to pinch-hit without entering the game defensively, and she took advantage. Ricketts sent a single into left field to bring in McCleney to put the Pride ahead 5-2.
Thomas had an outstanding outing, despite the home run. She threw 5.1 innings of one-hit softball, walking three and striking out two. Taylor did her usual work, throwing 1.2 innings with no hits and two strikeouts in five batters faced. She lowered her ERA to 0.80, second in the league only to Scrap Yard Dawgs ace Monica Abbott.
Racers (22-27) rookie pitcher Jailyn Ford came on in the bottom of the third inning in relief of starter Laura Winter and delivered a strong performance. Ford allowed one run on three hits in four innings of work, while striking out four batters.
The Racers and Pride will play their final game of the regular season when they return to Akron on Friday, August 12. First pitch is set for 7:05 PM (ET).
About the Akron Racers: The Akron Racers, headquartered in Akron, OH, are the oldest existing team in the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) league, celebrating their 15th Season of Play in 2016. 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.
About National Pro Fastpitch (NPF)
National Pro Fastpitch (NPF), an Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball since 2002, provides elite female athletes with an opportunity to pursue a professional career in diamond sports beyond their collegiate success. The 2016 NPF season will be televised on CBS Sports Network. Coverage includes the NPF College Draft presented by Bownet on Thur., April 14, followed by 23 regular-season games, a Championship Series Preview Special and the 2016 NPF Championship Series. The NPF recently announced that the Scrap Yard Dawgs, located in The Woodlands, Texas, will join the Akron Racers, Chicago Bandits, Dallas Charge, Pennsylvania Rebellion and USSSA Florida Pride for the 2016 season. National Pro Fastpitch players hail from the U.S., Australia, Canada, Japan, the Netherlands and New Zealand, representing the most accomplished and talented athletes in the sport of women’s softball.
Note to Media
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