TUSCALOOSA, AL – The 2016 season came to an end for the Akron Racers Sunday afternoon with a 6-2 loss to the USSSA Pride in Game 2 of the NPF Championship Series Semifinals at Rhoads Stadium on the University of Alabama campus.
The Pride pulled ahead of Akron early and built a 6-0 lead after five innings, before the Racers cut into the deficit with a two-out rally in the top of the sixth inning. Centerfielder Taylor Schlopy (Georgia) reached base for the third time in three plate appearances Sunday with a base hit down the left field line. Schlopy had walked and hit another single in her previous two trips to the plate. Rookie first baseman Sam Fischer (Loyola-Marymount) then put Akron on the scoreboard with her 11th home run of the season to make the score 6-2.
Pride relief pitcher Chelsea Thomas retired the last four hitters of the game in order to push her team into the Championship Series Finals which begin Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. ET against either the Chicago Bandits or the Scrap Yard Dawgs, whose Game 3 of their series followed the Racers against Pride contest.
For the second straight game, the Pride jumped out to a lead in the bottom of the first inning. After right fielder Kelly Kretschman and designated player Shelby Pendley drew walks earlier in the inning, catcher Chelsea Goodacre drove in Kretschman with a two-out single to put the Pride ahead 1-0. That lead would grow to 2-0, when Pride first baseman Hallie Wilson followed Goodacre with a fly ball to shallow left field that Racer shortstop Sami Fagan (Missouri) could not snag, allowing Pendley to come home.
After the first inning, Akron starting pitcher Sarah Pauly (Texas A&M-Corpus Christi) and Pride starter Jolene Henderson locked into a pitchers’ duel for the majority of the game. After four innings, Pauly had allowed two runs, one earned, on three hits with four strikeouts. Henderson went five scoreless innings, allowing only three hits.
The Pride offense broke through in the bottom of the fifth inning for four runs to open a 6-0 lead. Centerfielder Megan Wiggins began the inning with a home run to right field that chased Pauly from the circle. Racer relief pitchers Aimee Creger (Tulsa) and Laura Winter (Notre Dame) would then combine to walk the next three hitters to load the bases. After Winter forced Goodacre to pop a pitch up to second baseman Ashley Thomas (Georgia Tech) for the first out of the inning, Wilson and Pride second baseman Sierra Romero followed with back-to-back RBI singles to make the score 5-0. Left fielder Haylie McCleney plated pinch runner Kelsey Stewart with a sacrifice fly to close the scoring for the Pride.
Also contributing for the Racers’ offensive effort was catcher Griffin Joiner (Kentucky) who was hit by a pitch and had a line drive single in two plate appearances. Left fielder Shellie Robinson (South Carolina-Upstate) and Fagan each added a single in the game.
The Pride were led by Romero and Goodacre, who both had two hits and an RBI.
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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