NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Aug. 15, 2010) _ The Tennessee Diamonds ended their final home stand of the season in a positive way with a 4-2 win over the Akron Racers In National Pro Fastpitch play.
A crowd of 304 braved a temperature index of 100-plus degrees Sunday afternoon at Draper Diamond on the campus of Lipscomb University. The Diamonds won the series 4-1.
“We were tested this week,” Diamonds coach Ernie Reynolds said. “We had players respond by playing different positions. Shanna Diller played two different positions in the infield. We used to catchers and five outfielders.
“We are very happy where our club is right now. We are a much better defensive club and a much more cohesive offensive club. We have a pretty deep bench and a healthy pitching staff. We anticipate good things ahead.”
The Diamonds close out the regular season on the road in Elgin, Ill., against the Chicago Bandits Aug. 19-22. The Diamonds close out the season at the NPF Championship Series Aug. 26-29 in Sulphur, La.
Right-hander Becca Heteniak (1-5) won her first game of the season, holding the Racers to seven hits and two runs. She walked one batter and struck out four in 5.1 innings. Megan Gibson gave up no hits or runs and struck out one to close out the game for the Diamonds.
“We were so happy to get a consistent performance out of Becca,” Reynolds said. “She was very effective. Gibson also did a great job.”
Reynolds also had a great deal of praise for Aubree Brattin who caught two of the last three games of the series.
“Defensively, Aubree is calling all of her own games and appears to be in harmony with our staff,” Reynolds said. “Akron is a base running and base stealing team and they showed her a lot of respect. She had two great ballgames for us.”
Heteniak found herself pitching from behind quickly. Jackie Pasquerella doubled in the first and then scored on an infield single by Jamee Juarez.
Heteniak downplayed the heat. She expected to throw a complete game.
“It was pretty overcast until the fifth inning when it got pretty hot,” Heteniak said. “It was great to get the lead. The defense is always up more and as a pitcher you are up more.
“We always say that Sunday is survival day. When you are ahead you are in good spirits because you are surviving.”
The Diamonds scored three runs in the third inning, sparked by a two-run homer off of the scoreboard in right center field by Loryn Johnson. Gibson slammed a double to right field that drove in Chelsea Spencer with the Diamonds first run of the game.
Spencer, who had reached base on a single to left in the third, hit a solo home run that bounced off the left field foul pole.
“The middle of our order has been a catalyst for our run production and have been important parts of our recent string of victories,” Reynolds said. “I am just so happy that our RBI hitters are all showing up for work.”
Juarez hit a home run to dead center field over the 220-foot mark with one out in the sixth, but that would be the last of the scoring for the Racers.
Juarez started the game for the Racers. She slipped to 6-11 with the loss, giving up eight hits and four runs, all earned. She walked one and struck out one in 5.1 innings.
Brittany Weil entered the game and gave up one hit and walked one batter in two thirds of an inning. Taryne Mowatt closed out the game for the Racers. She struck out two and did not give up a hit or a run in the sixth inning.DIAMOND GEMS: Gibson earned her first save of the season for the Diamonds. …Juarez had two home runs in the series, her only home runs of the season. …Micaela Minner had to wear Crystl Bustos jersey because she could not locate hers.