Bandits win third straight against Racers

AKRON, Ohio — The Akron Racers experienced a night of close calls at Firestone Stadium, each one being affecting the games’ outcome. Unfortunately for the Racers, not enough calls went their way during the contest as they ended up dropping yet another close game to the Chicago Bandits 5-3.

The most controversial call of the game came during the top half of the fourth inning on a play at the plate. When Bandit (23-16) Nicole Trimboli came running towards the plate and Racers’ catcher Kristen Butler received the ball at the plate in time to make the tag, the home plate umpire initially called Trimboli out. After an umpire meeting at the middle of the diamond, the call was reversed. Even though Racer manager Shonda Stanton did her best to get the call turned over again, all she received was a trip to the locker room.

Akron (19-20) immediately battled back in the bottom half of the same inning. The rally started when third baseman Norrelle Dickson singled and power hitting team captain Kristen Butler stepped to the plate.

With the play from earlier that inning no doubt still lingering in her mind, she took hold of the opportunity to put the Racers in the lead and hit a homerun over the leftfield fence.

The only other scoring for the Racers came in that same inning when first baseman Kate Robinson singled to left and was advanced to second when Susan Ogden walked. She then crossed the plate on Shannon Doepking’s single.  The Racers escaped the controversial inning with a 3-1 lead.

Ohio State product Jamee Jaurez started for the Racers and went five and a third innings. Juarez pitched strong for the first five innings, not allowing an earned run to cross.

However, the Bandits found an offensive explosion of their own in the top of the sixth inning.  Samantha Findlay started things for the Bandits with one out, launching a homer over the centerfield fence. After a single by Emily Nichols and an error on centerfielder Kim Hamilton, Juarez left the game with a 3-2 lead and a runner on second.  Radara McHugh (2-5) entered the game in relief, but struggled as the Bandits got two more runs off of the reliever to take a 4-3 lead.

The Bandits added an insurance run in the top of the seventh, before Akron tried to find a little comeback magic.  Norrelle Dickson started the seventh inning with a one out single.  An error and a fielder’s choice got the bases loaded with two outs, but a comeback was not to be as Chicago’s Kristina Thorson got India Chiles to ground out to end the game to earn her third save of the year.

Tracie Adix started for the Bandits and gave up all three Racers’ runs on four hits in three innings.  Amanda Freed picked up her first win of the year for the Bandits, pitching two scoreless innings in relief of Adix.

The Racers will be back at home on Tuesday night for their last home game of the season against the Chicago Bandits. They will then take to the road for eight more games. They are currently holding the last spot in the race for the playoffs.

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