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THE WOODLANDS, TX – Coming off a strong rookie campaign in 2016 and a season pitching in Japan, Akron Racers (4-5) second-year pitcher Jailyn Ford kicked off her 2017 NPF season with a nearly flawless performance, leading the Racers to a 6-2 win over the Scrap Yard Dawgs and securing the series victory.
Ford retired 10 of the first 11 batters she faced and blanked the Dawgs through five innings en route to the win in her first appearance.  
Akron’s offense did everything it needed to allow Ford to settle in and feel comfortable quickly.  The Racers put three runs on the scoreboard in the top of the first inning before Ford even stepped into the pitching circle.  After leftfielder Kristen Wyckoff was hit by an offering from Dawgs (4-4) starting pitcher Cheridan Hawkins, Sami Fagan reached second base on a Dawgs defensive miscue.  A wild pitch by Hawkins brought Wyckoff home for the first run of the game.  Fagan scored on a Sam Fischer ground out to put Akron ahead 2-0.  Right fielder Jennifer Gilbert capped the inning off by smashing a solo home run over the centerfield fence.
The Racers tallied three more runs in the top of the fourth inning.  With Ashley Thomas and Megan Geer on first and second base, respectively, Wyckoff laced a triple to the right-center field gap to score two runs.  Fagan followed with a sacrifice fly that plated Wyckoff.
Wyckoff ended the game with a triple, two runs scored and two RBI.
After Ford surrendered a lead-off single to Kayla Winkfield in the bottom of the sixth inning, Akron turned to the bullpen and Aimee Creger to finish the game.  After Creger forced Nerissa Myers to pop out to shortstop Haley Fagan and struckout Taylor Edwards, Britt Vonk put the Dawgs on the board with two outs, taking a full-count offering from Creger over the fence in left field for a two-run home run to cut the score to 6-2.
Officially, Ford earned the victory, throwing five innings, allowing one run on three hits and two walks with a pair of strikeouts.
The Racers will now travel to San Marcos, Texas to finish off this season opening road trip with a two-game series against the Texas Charge on Saturday and Sunday.  Saturday’s game will start at 6:05 p.m. ET.
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.

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