(Courtesy: Thomas Porter, Chicago Bandits)
ROSEMONT, Ill. – The Akron Racers opened the first game of a two-game series at the Ballpark at Rosemont with a 12-7 victory over the Chicago Bandits on Monday night. The Racers built an early lead and then held off multiple comeback efforts from Chicago to hold on for the win.
The Racers took a quick 4-0 lead before Bandits’ starter Haylie Wagner could record the first out of the game. Shellie Robinson’s grand slam to right proved to be an early blow. The game soon entered a rain delay, which lasted 32 minutes.
Wagner responded well to the early halt in the action, bouncing back to retire the next three batters in order with a pair of strikeouts.
Akron soon made it 5-0 in the second frame when Sam Fischer launched a solo shot to the party deck in left field. Fischer, later named the Vaultz® Lock It Up!® Player of the Game, finished 2-for-3 with two home runs and four RBI in the contest.
The Racers’ lead grew to 6-0 in the top of the third inning on an RBI single by Griffin Joiner that scored Jennifer Gilbert, before Chicago came roaring back in the bottom half of the third, knocking Akron starter Emily Weiman out of the circle in the process. With two outs and Abby Ramirez aboard, Brenna Moss blasted a triple into the right-center gap to plate to put the Bandits on the board.
Chicago tacked on five runs in the inning thanks to timely two-out hitting. All five runs came with two outs, including a two-RBI single off the bat of Natalie Hernandez and a bases-loaded walk issued to Sahvanna Jaquish to make the score 6-5.
Akron added two runs in the sixth, only to be matched by a pair for the Bandits in the same frame. Brenna Moss reached on an error by Fischer, allowing both runs to score to bring the deficit within one run again at 8-7.
The Racers scored four insurance runs in the seventh to put the game out of reach. Fischer’s second long ball of the game, a three-run shot, effectively sealed the win for Akron. Sami Fagan drove in Ashley Thomas for the final run of the game, bringing the score to 12-7.
The Racers will complete the two-game series against the Bandits on Tuesday afternoon with first pitch scheduled for 2:05 p.m. ET. The game will be streamed on NPF TV. Akron returns home on Friday, July 7 to begin a two-game series against Chicago with the first pitch at 7:05 p.m. For more information or to purchase tickets contact the Racers ticket office at 330-376-8188.
Time of game: 2 hours, 24 minutes (game delayed 32 minutes due to rain)
Vaultz Lock It Up!® Player of the Game: Sam Fischer (AKR) – 2-for-3, 2 HR, 4 RBI
Tonight’s ceremonial first pitch was thrown out by Kirk Havens, a Green Beret who served for nearly 14 years and eight deployments. Cassandra Taylor, Sergeant First Class in the U.S. Army, sang the national anthem. Taylor served for 28 years in the human relations field.
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.