NASHVILLE, Tenn. (6/10/2010) _ It was the little things that counted as the Akron Racers beat the Tennessee Diamonds 11-3 Thursday night at Draper Diamond at Lipscomb University in National Pro Fastpitch action.
Bunts, infield hits, an error here and there and a couple of passes balls all contributed to the win for the Racers who only had one extra base hit out of 13.
“We have played on a fairly soft field both nights,” said Diamonds’ coach Ernie Reynolds. “The soft field keeps the ball down and it rolls slowly. Speed puts more pressure on the defense. It is only a difference of 2.1 seconds for the fastest runners between home plate and first base. Having seen this for the last two nights is going to make us better in the future.”
The Racers scored five runs in the second, added four more in the sixth and two in the seventh. The Diamonds scored one run in the fourth and two in the sixth.
In the first two games of the season the Diamonds have rallied to score runs. Reynolds and his team are still looking for that first win, but they have already won over fans with their character.
“Our team plays hard and plays with enthusiasm,” Reynolds said. “We’re not going to quit on an inning and we are not going to quit on a pitch.
“We are going to find ways to win. We are going to make it an exciting seven innings for our fans.”
Jackie Pasquerella had the big hit for the Racers in the second inning with a ground ball single through the right side that drove in two runs with two outs. Jamee Juarez led off the inning with a ground ball double down the left field line. She later scored on a passed ball. Trena Peel, who had reached base when she was hit by a pitch, scored on a throwing error to the catcher by Diamonds’ pitcher Samantha Sheeley.
The Diamonds broke the shutout by Akron right-hander Lisa Norris when Amanda Williams opened the fourth inning with a solo home run to right field. It was the first home run of the season for Williams.
In the sixth the Racers loaded the bases and then used a combination of bunts, infield hits and a passed ball to push four more runs across the plate.
With one out and four runs scored in the inning Sheeley left the game. She was relieved by right-hander Kristin Erb who did not allow another run in the inning.
In 5.1 innings Sheeley gave up nine runs, scattered eight hits and walked four. She did not record a strikeout. Erb struck out five batters in 1.2 innings. She gave up three hits and two runs.
“Samantha did exactly what we asked her to do,” Reynolds said. “We wanted her to pitch as deep into the game as we could. We just have to play better defense behind her and give her better run support.”
Williams opened the sixth inning by connecting for her second extra base hit of the game, a double to left field. Chelsea Spencer dropped a single into right field to score Williams. Spencer scored on a single to left by Loryn Johnson.
“Amanda can do it all,” Reynolds said. “She makes the other team defend the entire field.”
While Williams was happy with leading the team in hitting, she has one thing on her mind _ getting that first win of the season.
“We’re still trying to put things together,” Williams said. “We have no pressure on us, but we are here for the City of Nashville and we want to win.”
Williams may have supplied the power for the Diamonds, but she doesn’t consider herself to be a home run hitter.
“I do a little bit of everything at the plate,” Williams said. “I’m not looking for a home run. I like to find the gaps.”
In the seventh the Racers capitalized on three singles for two more runs.
Right-hander Lisa Norris pitched five innings for Akron. She gave up three hits and two runs. She walked one and struck out four. She earned the win. Brittany Weil, also a right-hander, closed out the game allowing one run on three hits. She struck out three hitters.
Pasquerella and Juarez each had three hits to lead the Racers. They both tied for the team lead in runs batted in with two. Peel also added two RBI.
The Diamonds will be seeking their first win of the season Friday night at 7 when their series with the Racers continues.
DIAMOND GEMS: The Diamonds have shown some power with one home run in each of the first two games. Carly Wynn blasted a three-run homer in the season opener Wednesday night, a 7-6 loss by the Diamonds. …Spencer stole a base in the sixth. …Akron’s Lisa Modglin stole four bases.