Keilani Ricketts Photo by Bill Diehm Courtesy of National Pro Fastpitch
TUSCALOOSA, AL (August 19, 2016) – Following a one-hour rain delay that postponed the start of tonight’s game at Rhoads Stadium between the top-seeded USSSA Pride and the Akron Racers, the two teams cruised through a pitchers’ duel with a three-run home run by Lauren Chamberlain accounting for the entire offensive output in a 3-0 shutout victory by the Pride.
USSSA (38-13) starter Keilani Ricketts (7-5) battled out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the first before former Oklahoma teammate Lauren Chamberlain added some run support in the bottom half of the inning with a three-run homer, her ninth of the season. Ricketts was steadfast over the remaining 6.0 innings, allowing just four more Akron (22-29) batters to reach base safely with only two advancing into scoring position.
“I wanted to get some runs up on the board early and get Keilani [Ricketts] comfortable out there,” Chamberlain said. “I watched a pitch similar to the one I hit go by earlier in the count so I was looking for another one and got it.”
The home run spelled an early exit for Racers starter Jailyn Ford (9-10), with relievers Rachele Fico and Aimee Creger combining to throw 5.2 shutout innings behind her. Fico allowed just one hit with one walk over 2.2 innings, while Creger was perfect over 3.0 frames, fanning three batters.
“The first inning pretty much told the story,” Akron head coach Brian Levin said. “We had our opportunities and didn’t take advantage of them early in the game. Jailyn [Ford] gave up the home run and the single and looked a little frustrated so we got her out of there. Rachele [Fico] did a tremendous job and Aimee [Creger] shut them down too so our pitching staff did a tremendous job.”
Offensively, Chamberlain accounted for one of the Pride’s three hits on the day with Chelsea Goodacre going 2-3 behind her in the batting order.
Racers outfielder A.J. Andrews went 2-3, including the team’s lone extra-base hit with a fifth-inning double, while Ashley Thomas and Alex Hugo also tallied base hits in the low-scoring contest.
Game two of the series is slated for a 2 p.m. CT start on Saturday, Aug. 20 at Rhoads Stadium.
PLAY BY PLAY
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.
FOLLOW THE PRIDE
About USSSA Florida Pride:
The USSSA Florida Pride is a professional franchise in the National Pro Fastpitch League that is owned and operated by USSSA. The amateur organization of USSSA has multi-sport coverage and encompasses teams and players from the United States and abroad.
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.