Pride Avoid Sweep, Defeat Racers 6-2
AKRON, Ohio - The USSSA Pride spoiled the Akron Racers 2009 home finale by picking up their first win of the series 6-2. The Pride (11-19) mixed a combination of good pitching, hitting and an ability to capitalize on Racer (22-13) miscues to come away with the victory.
The Pride offense wasted little time getting their bats going as lead off hitter Kelly Kretschman started the top of the first inning with a lined double down the right field line. Second baseman Kristin Schnake followed Kretschman with an RBI single to center field. Later in the inning, Oli Keohohou came up with a one out base hit to right field to give the Pride runners on first and second. After a passed ball allowed Keohohou and Schnake to move up to second and third bases respectively, Breanne Javier grounded out to second baseman Kenora Posey, allowing Schnake to score.
The Pride extended their 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning, Kretschman led off with a sharp ground ball to Akron's Jackie Pasquerella at third base. The ball shot through Pasquerella's legs for an error. That was the last batter Racer starter Lisa Norris would face, as the Racers turned to reliever Radara McHugh. The Racer veteran quickly walked the first two batters she faced, loading the bases for Keohohou. McHugh got Keohohou to hit the ball on the ground to Crystl Bustos at shortstop. Bustos fired home to retire Kretschman and keep the score 2-0 in favor of the Pride. The Pride's first baseman Javier then drew a bases loaded walk to drive in Schnake. Jessica Dignon followed with a sacrifice fly to left field that plated Amber Jackson and gave the Pride a 4-0 lead.
Akron showed some life in the bottom of the fifth inning as they began to mount a comeback. Lisa Modglin started the rally with a one out single down the left field line. Two batters later, Bustos drove a single to left field that advanced Modglin around to third base. Pasquerella then hit a sharp ground ball to shortstop Jackson. Jackson couldn't handle the ball and Modglin scored on the error to cut the score to 4-1 Pride. Jenny Topping then smashed a base hit to the left-center field gap that brought in Bustos.
Topping's single would be the last base runner Akron would get as Desiree Serrano (1-7) set down the last seven Racers she faced. Serrano allowed two runs, neither earned, on eight hits and two walks, while striking out three in seven innings of work to pick up the win.
In the top of the seventh inning the Pride picked up two more insurance runs in the form of a two run home run by Javier to give the Pride their last two runs and secure a 6-2 victory.
Norris (8-5) picked up the loss for the Racers allowing three runs, two earned, on three hits in two innings of work. the Racer starter also struck out a pair of Pride hitters. McHugh and Kate Robinson teamed up for five innings of relief pitching for the Racers allowing three runs, two earned, on three hits and seven walks while striking out one batter each.
The Racers travel to face the Chicago Bandits next week. The battle of the top two teams in the NPF will close out Akron's regular season schedule before coming back home to host the 2009 NPF championship series at Firestone Stadium. For ticket information to the championship series contact the Racers ticket office at 330-376-8188.