AKRON, OH – The Scrap Yard Dawgs chipped away at the Akron Racers Tuesday night in the first game of the teams’ four-game series at Firestone Stadium, scoring in six of the seven innings, including five one run innings, and provided ace pitcher Monica Abbott more than enough run support for the Dawgs to secure a 7-1 victory.
Abbott held the Racers to one unearned run, allowing four hits with nine strikeouts in the complete game victory. Tonight marked 16 wins and 12 complete games on the season for the former Olympian.
Offensively, the Dawgs tallied four home runs and used the long ball to take the early lead. The first home run came from second baseman Nerissa Myers in the first plate appearance of the game in the top of the first inning to take a 1-0 lead. In the second frame, another leadoff home run would double the Dawg lead to 2-0, this time off the bat of designated player Katiyana Mauga.
“I expect our pitcher to go out there and put zeros on the board,” said Racers Field Manager Charlotte Morgan. “You’ve got to keep the ball in the park, you can’t defend a home run.”
The Dawgs rallied together a string of hits in the top of the third inning. Myers roped a line drive single down the right field line, followed by a slap hit single from Dawgs centerfielder Allexis Bennett. First baseman Brittany Cervantes drew a walk to load the bases, followed by a Mauga walk to bring in a run for a 3-0 Dawgs lead.
In the bottom of the third inning left fielder Kristen Wyckoff broke up Abbott’s perfect game bid with Akron’s first hit of the game, smacking the ball right back up the middle.
A solo home run from Cervantes started the Dawgs in the fifth. In the following at-bat, catcher Taylor Edwards smacked a line drive single to the right-center field wall and was pinch ran for by Olivia Watkins. After stealing second base, Watkins moved to third on a Mauga ground ball back to Silkwood and scored with a single up the middle from third baseman Britt Vonk to bring the Dawgs lead up to 5-0.
“I expect them to give our offense a chance to win,” said Morgan. “That’s all that I ask. You don’t have to win the game and you don’t have to give us a 0-0 ball game all the time, but you’ve got to give us an opportunity to tie it up or to win.”
The Racer offense put together a two-out rally in the bottom of the fifth inning. Third baseman Kelley Montalvo drove a pitch to left field for a base hit. A pop fly from catcher Griffin Joiner was dropped by Dawgs right fielder MJ Knighten to move Montalvo to third. Wyckoff then picked up her second hit of the game smacking a hard shot off the glove of Cervantes for an RBI single that scored Montalvo to cut the game to 5-1 in favor of the Dawgs.
“I thought the offense did a great job,” Morgan said. “We’ve struggled against Monica the last two (games) against her, and I thought they did a really good job taking her deep and working good hitters’ counts.”
With Akron pitcher Laura Winter entering in the sixth, the Dawgs were able to score another run. Shortstop Kayla Winkfield placed the ball in shallow right-center field for a double. Myers kept her bat hot with a double down the right field line, advancing the Dawgs lead 6-1 after scoring Winkfield. Myers went 3-for-4 on the night, with one homerun, two runs and two RBI, earning her the Vaultz Lock It Up Player of the Game.
Mauga blasted a solo home run over the centerfield fence in the top of the seventh inning for her second of the night, increasing her teams’ runs to a final score of 7-1 over Akron.
The Racers will host the Dawgs in a doubleheader tomorrow, the first game is scheduled to start at 4:35 p.m. with the second game following shortly afterwards at approximately 7:05 p.m. They play the final game of the series on Thursday with a first pitch at 7:05 p.m. For more information or to order tickets, contact the Racers ticket office at (330) 376-8188.
Game Time: 2:07
Vaultz Lock It Up Player of the Game: Nerissa Myers
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.