Sami Fagan Courtesy of National Pro Fastpitch
AKRON, OH (July 9, 2016) – The long ball made an emphatic return to Firestone Stadium as the Racers clobbered three home runs, which accounted for five of their six runs scored on the night in a 6-4 win over the Scrap Yard Dawgs.
With AJ Andrews (LSU) and Kelley Montalvo (Alabama) on base, shortstop Sami Fagan (Missouri) annihilated a 3-run home run that launched Akron out to a commanding 5-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning.
“I think [getting timely hits] is huge for us,” Fagan said. “It gives us momentum. It gives us confidence. It kind of takes the pressure off of our pitchers and it just helped us roll into a ‘W’ so I think it’s huge when we get those big hits for our pitchers for sure.”
Not only did Fagan hit her fifth home run on the season, but she filled the entire stat sheet raking two hits, scoring a run and knocking in the crucial three RBI.
Racers (14-11) centerfielder Taylor Schlopy (Georgia) wasn’t ready to let the inning stop there, though, as five pitches later she sent another ball screaming over the wall in left-center field, which capped a five-run fourth inning and shot the Racers out to a 6-0 lead. Andrews ripped an RBI double that scored second baseman Ashley Thomas (Georgia Tech) and started the run-filled half inning.
“That’s one thing we’ve always done since I’ve been here in three years is being able to hit the home run,” field manager Brian Levin said. “At any given time, anyone can hit it out, so that’s a good plus to have.”
Dating back to her last matchup with the Dawgs (14-12), Racers starting pitcher Sarah Pauly had held them scoreless for 11 consecutive innings before Dawgs third baseman Amanda Fama ended that streak with a solo homerun to lead off the fifth inning and get the Dawgs on the scoreboard.
Pauly started in the circle for Akron and threw 5.1 innings while striking out four batters and allowing three runs on six hits.
“The thing about Sarah is that when you put her out there, nine times out of 10 she is going to keep you in the game,” Levin said. “That’s all you can ask for in this league because people swing the bats so well.”
The Dawgs mounted a comeback effort in the sixth inning when they added a pair of runs, thanks to back-to-back RBI hits from designated player Breja’e Washington and second baseman Nerissa Myers, which closed the gap and made the score 6-3.
A seventh inning two-out home run by Lexi Overstreet inched the Dawgs back to 6-4, however, another solid relief effort from Laura Winter (Notre Dame) helped the Racers lock up the win in the final game of this short home stand. The home run by Overstreet ended a stretch of 12 innings in which Winter hadn’t allowed a run. Winter earned her first save of the season with one run allowed in 1.2 innings of work with two strikeouts.
In the bottom of the second inning, Racers second baseman Alex Hugo (Georgia) drove a ball clear over the fence in right-center field to lift Akron to an early 1-0 lead.
“Getting the momentum and then just keep rolling with it the whole game I think gave us confidence and then our pitchers did amazing,” Hugo said. “I think we put everything together today.”
The Racers will hit the road again for a brief three-game stint with the Pennsylvania Rebellion in which the first game will be played at Consol Energy Park in Washington, Pennsylvania, and the latter two will be played in Salisbury, Maryland. The Racers will return to the Rubber City on July 15 for a six-game home stand against the Dallas Charge and Scrap Yard Dawgs.
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Follow the Scrap Yard Dawgs on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to keep up with the latest happenings of the newest team in the NPF. The complete Dawgs game schedule and event tickets can be found at www.scrapyarddawgs.com.
About the Scrap Yard Dawgs:
The Scrap Yard Dawgs will begin competition in the National Pro Fastpitch league in 2016. The Dawgs will provide elite softball players the opportunity to pursue a professional career and inspire the next generation of professionals. Located in the Houston area, the Dawgs organization and its players are committed to demonstrating leadership in community involvement, entertainment, and professionalism. Follow the Dawgs at www.scrapyarddawgs.com or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
About the Akron Racers:
The Akron Racers, headquartered in Akron, OH, are the oldest existing team in the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) league, celebrating their 15th Season of Play in 2016. 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 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.
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