Angel Bunner, Beijing Eagles – Photo by Charles Kempf
ST. JOSEPH, MO (May 19, 2018) – Nearly 500 fans at Missouri Western were in for a treat on opening night of the league’s 15th season as the Aussie Spirit’s NPF debut resulted in extra innings against the Beijing Shougang Eagles. The Eagles pumped out a 7-2 win against the Spirit.
The Spirit and NPF reached an agreement in December 2017 that introduced the Spirit to the league as a member team beginning in 2018. Today’s contest marked the first of a 48 game season for the Aussie Spirit.
“It’s the start of a long road of 48 games. So we need to make sure we keep everything in perspective. Keep working on our game and just come out better tomorrow night,” says Assistant Coach Kerrie Porter.
After a scoreless first three innings led by pitching ace, Amelia Cudicio, Aussie Spirit bats proved to be hot in the bottom of the fourth. Stacey McManus’ lead-off walk would later turn into the first run of the game off a series of errors by the Eagles. The Spirit would lead 2-0 through the top of the fifth inning.
A shot over the left field fence by Liu Mengmeng put an Eagles run on the board, but the game would remain scoreless until the top of the seventh when Liu Li Li stole third and crossed the plate on a throwing error. Tie game, 2-2, extra innings on NPF opening night.
A series of singles strung together by Li Qi, Chen Jia, Lu Ying, Liu Li Li, Wang Bei, opened up the hitting brigade for the Eagles. Five runs, five hits, 1 error, 1 left on base and the Eagles would lead 7-2 in the top of the 8th. The Aussie bats wouldn’t be able to answer and the Eagles would clinch the game 7-2.
“We need to work on our decision making, and what we want to execute and how we’re going to do it.“ “It’s going to be a battle every night, and the girls will be a lot better for it,” adds Kerrie Porter.
The Aussie Spirit will take on the Beijing Eagles at Missouri Western State University again tomorrow night (Sunday) at 4:00 and 7:00 pm CST. It will be the 2nd and 3rd games of a six-game set against the Eagles. The game will be broadcast LIVE on NPF TV.
About National Pro Fastpitch (NPF)
National Pro Fastpitch (NPF), an Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball since 2004, provides elite female athletes with an opportunity to pursue a professional career in fastpitch softball beyond their collegiate and amateur success. The NPF affiliate teams consist of the Aussie Spirit, Beijing Shougang Eagles, Chicago Bandits, Cleveland Comets, and USSSA Florida Pride for the 2018 season. National Pro Fastpitch players hail from the United States, Australia, Canada and China among which are the most accomplished and talented athletes in the sport of women’s softball.