AKRON, OH-June 25, 2016– On a night that started with the Akron Racers holding a public toast to the Cleveland Cavaliers because of their first NBA championship in franchise history, the USSSA Pride used an offensive power surge to come away with a 12-6 victory at Firestone Stadium Saturday night.
After Racer First Baseman Sam Fischer (Loyola-Marymount) erased a USSSA advantage for the second time with a homerun in the bottom of the third inning, this time a two-run blast that scored centerfielder Taylor Schlopy (Georgia) to tie the game 6-6, the Pride got all the security they needed during the top of the fourth inning putting five runs on the board and bringing the score to 11-6.
“I know having Hugo behind me and having Taylor in front of me is going to give me a chance to do something because they are just as threatening and just as powerful. I think we all bounce off each other,” Fischer said.
Fischer currently leads the league with six home runs.
Pride Center Fielder Megan Wiggins got the inning going with a one-out home run to center field to put USSSA ahead 7-6. After back-to-back walks, Second Baseman Sierra Romero extended the Pride lead with a two-run double that scored Right Fielder Kelly Kretschman and Shortstop Shelby Pendley. The final two runs of the fourth inning came on a home run by Third Baseman Missy Taukeiaho, her first career home run, that gave the Pride an 11-6 lead.
The Pride scored two runs early during the top of the first inning, taking advantage of two Racers’ defensive errors, capitalized by a home run by Romero to give USSSA a 2-0 advantage.
“From pitch one we weren’t ready. In the first five pitches we recorded two errors. That’s not how you start a game,” Akron Field Manager Brian Levin said.
Fischer put the Racers right back in the game with a three-run home run to right-center field that plated Right Fielder A.J. Andrews (Louisiana State) and Shortstop Sami Fagan (Missouri) to give Akron its first lead of the game, 3-2.
The Racers increased their lead even more after Andrews (Louisiana State) singled to center field, allowing Kelley Montalvo (Alabama) to score in the bottom of the second.
“We came back offensively and took the lead, and then it was just a terrible defensive game. I just feel like from an offensive standpoint, when you come back and then let them come back to take the lead, you’re kind of wondering, not that you lose hope, but hey we can’t keep coming back like this all the time,” Levin said.
The Pride answered with four runs in the top of the third, leading with a home run to left center by Megan Wiggins. RBI singles by Romero and Left Fielder Kirsti Merritt put the Pride on top 6-4.
“I think we need to stay composed whether we make an error or not. We can’t let anything stick. If we flush everything bad that happened and keep moving forward then we can stay upbeat,” said Andrews.
There were 1,025 fans present on Saturday night, making the biggest crowd Firestone Stadium has seen so far this season.
“Unbelievable. It’s tremendous. I wish we could have given them a little bit more for their money, but I really appreciate them. They were great and I hope they come out and support us some more,” said Levin.
The Racers continue the series with the Pride tomorrow night at Firestone Stadium with the first pitch being thrown at 7:05 p.m. Contact the Akron Racers ticket office at 330-376- 8188 or online at http://www.akronracers.org for ticket information.
About USSSA Florida Pride:
The USSSA Florida Pride is a professional franchise in the National Pro Fastpitch League that is owned and operated by USSSA. The amateur organization of USSSA has multi-sport coverage and encompasses teams and players from the United States and abroad.
The United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA), headquartered in Osceola County, Florida, USSSA is the World’s Largest Multi-sport Athletic Organization. Founded in 1968, USSSA has grown to over 3.7 million participants, competing in 13 nationally sanctioned sports including Baseball, Fastpitch, Slow Pitch, Karate, Basketball, Soccer and more! For more information on USSSA and to register your team visit USSSA.com. Also be sure to visit USSSAToday.com for the latest USSSA.
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.