Alex Hugo Photo by Ryan Breiding Courtesy of National Pro Fastpitch
AKRON, OH (July 17, 2016) – In a back-and-forth series of tight games, the rubber match between the Akron Racers and Dallas Charge would be no different Sunday afternoon. Racers designated player Alex Hugo fueled a four-run fourth inning that earned Akron a 4-3 victory over the Charge at Firestone Stadium.
Trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning and still looking for the team’s first hit, Racers (19-12) shortstop Sami Fagan (Missouri) lined a base hit back up the middle to lead off the frame. First baseman Sam Fischer (Loyola-Marymount) followed with a single to right field that allowed Fagan to dart all the way to third base. Hugo (Georgia) was up next and slammed a double down the left field line, chasing home Emily Messer (South Alabama), who entered as a pinch runner for Fischer, and Fagan to tie the game up 2-2. Hugo wasted no time by advancing to third on a wild pitch and was able to run home herself after Shellie Robinson (USC-Upstate) shot a single to left field, giving Akron their first lead of the game. The Racers weren’t done as Ashley Thomas (Georgia Tech) singled to left field, allowing Robinson to race home with a 4-2 lead.
“I think it (the two-run RBI double) just kind of gets things rolling,” Hugo said. “I think it gives us some momentum at the plate, so that way we can just play loose and continue rolling.”
The Charge (10-19) tried to answer back in the top of the seventh inning as center fielder Taylor Gadbois started the rally with a base hit to center field. After an infield hit by shortstop Renada Davis and an error by pitcher Hannah Perryman put runners on second and third base, second baseman Kylee Lahners laced an RBI single to plate Gadbois and cut the Akron advantage to just one run.
Rachele Fico (Louisiana State) stepped into the circle with one out and runners on the corners and picked up the save by striking out two of the next three Dallas batters to leave the bases loaded as the game ended.
“I had to calm myself down and take it one pitch at a time,” Fico said. “I warmed up pretty quickly, I didn’t get to go through my normal routine, but I had to adapt and calm myself down and just trust what Griffin was calling once I got out on the mound and execute what she wanted.”
The Charge were the first to light up the scoreboard in the top of the second inning, after right fielder Brianna Cherry beat out an infield hit with one out, third baseman Danielle Henderson followed with an RBI double to take a 1-0 lead for Dallas.
“I think we were a little flat coming out,” said Racers coach Brian Levin. “The second time around we had a lot better at bats. We need to be more energetic and enthusiastic.”
The Charge put its second run on the board in the top of the fourth inning when Kaitlyn Richardson hit a solo home run to center field.
The Racers will be back tomorrow night at Firestone Stadium to start a three-game series with the Scrap Yard Dawgs at 7:05 p.m. Contact the Akron Racers ticket office at 330-376- 8188 or online at www.akronracers.org for ticket information.
PLAY BY PLAY
About the Dallas Charge:
The Dallas Charge, headquartered in McKinney, TX, began competition in the National Pro Fastpitch league in 2015. The Charge provide elite softball players the opportunity to pursue a professional career and inspire the next generation of professionals. Located in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, the Charge organization and its players are committed to demonstrating leadership in community involvement, entertainment, and professionalism. Follow the Dallas Charge at www.dallascharge.com.
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.
Note to Media
Photos and b-roll of players is available. Interviews with the league commissioner are welcomed, and top players from each team are accessible immediately. If you’re interested in pursuing story angles about professional softball for women, please don’t hesitate to contact us.