(Courtesy of the Scrap Yard Dawgs)
THE WOODLANDS, TX – After exploding for nine runs on Tuesday night, the Akron Racers offense struggled to get on track Wednesday night, as the Scrap Yard Dawgs, led by starting pitcher Monica Abbott, evened the series with a 9-1 win.
After failing to convert with bases loaded in the bottom of the first inning, the Dawgs more than made up for it in the second. Olivia Watkins’s bunt single started things off for the Dawgs. Watkins used her speed again to reach third on Kiki Stokes’s lined single to right. Kayla Winkfield drew the walk to leave the bases loaded for Nerissa Myers and she made Akron pay with a bomb to right center for the grand slam. The homer was Myers’ second on the year and put the Dawgs ahead 4-0.
The Dawg offense added to the lead in the bottom of the third inning, piling up four more runs. Britt Vonk opened the inning by drawing a walk. Alisa Goler singled to left-center field to get Vonk to third base. The Cal-Berkley product scored on a passed ball strikeout. Watkins reached first base on her strikeout. Stokes’s sacrifice fly scored Goler for the 6-0 lead. Taylor Edwards capped the inning with a two-run single that plated Allexis Bennett and Winkfield.
The Racers offense struggled to find a rhythm against Abbott. The three-time NPF pitcher of the year struck out eight - at one point in the second and third innings fanning six straight. The University of Tennessee product allowed one hit on the night in five innings of work. Abbott’s ERA dropped to 0.82 after the victory.
Dawgs pitching allowed just three hits on the evening and a lone run. Rachel Fox and Morgan Foley completed the game in relief. Fox allowed one run on two hits and struck out one. Foley closed out the seventh for Dawgs, striking out two.
The Racers tried to make it interesting in the top of the fifth inning, but the Dawgs defense erased those hopes. After an Abbott strikeout of Sam Fischer for the first out of the inning, Shellie Robinson reached first base for the Racers when she was hit by a pitch. Abbott was then able to get a ground ball out of Kelley Montalvo. Myers teamed up with Jade Rhodes at first for the double play to erase any threat.
Akron cut into the Dawgs’ lead in the top of the sixth inning on a sacrifice fly by Ashley Thomas that brought home Sara Groenewegen to make the score 8-1. It was Groenewegen’s first run scored in the NPF. Fox managed to avoid more damage, stranding runners on first and second base by retiring Nicole Schroeder and Sami Fagan to end the inning.
The two teams square off in the rubber match tomorrow at the Scrap Yard Complex in the Woodlands with the first pitch at 7:05 p.m.
Tickets are on sale for the Racers 2017 home season at Firestone Stadium, which begins with opening week June 21 through July 2. The Racers begin the home season against the NPF’s newest team the Beijing Shougang Eagles from China. Tickets are also on sale for a special showing of Burn the Ships, the feature-length documentary on a year in the life of the Akron Racers. There will be two showings at the Akron-Summit County Public Library at 6:00 pm and 8:15 pm on Tuesday, June 20. There will also be a player meet and greet with the 2017 Akron Racers between the two showings. Call the Akron Racers box office at 330-376-8188 for more ticket information for both Racer games and the Burn the Ships showings.
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 will celebrate their 16th season of play in 2017. 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 2004, provides elite female athletes with an opportunity to pursue a professional career in fastpitch softball beyond their collegiate and amateur success. The NPF affiliate teams consist of the Akron Racers, Beijing Shougang Eagles, Chicago Bandits, Scrap Yard Dawgs, Texas Charge and USSSA Florida Pride for the 2017 season. National Pro Fastpitch players hail from the United States, Australia, Canada and China among which are the most accomplished and talented athletes in the sport of women’s softball.