ASHLAND (June 5, 2018)—All-American pitchers Allie Walljasper and Emily Watson combined to strikeout 11 as the visiting Beijing Shougang Eagles topped the Cleveland Comets in their home opener at Brookside Park on Tuesday.
The Eagles scored a pair of runs in the first inning, one in the fifth and two in the seventh to pull away from the Comets.
“I think we got behind early but we fought,” said Cleveland coach Charlotte Morgan. “We had (11) Ks on the offensive side. It’s tough when you’re facing two All-Americans. Walljasper and Watson are great pitchers.”
Victoria Draper singled with one out in the first and moved to second on an error. Li Qi then singled and Chen Jia hit a two-out double to give the Eagles an early 2-0 lead.
Shellie Robinson drew a leadoff walk in the bottom half of the inning and later scored on an error to cut the Beijing lead in half.
Ren Min’s two-out double in the fifth made it 3-1 and a pair of infield singles followed by Chen Jia’s second double of the game closed out the scoring.
Robinson, Chloe Miller and Xie Yue provided Cleveland’s only hits in the game. Miller hit a two-out triple in the sixth but was stranded.
“Offensively, we’ve got to be better and have better approaches,” Morgan said. “We had some deep shots that normally would have been out. We were swinging it well but we were all or nothing tonight. We’ve got to be able to string those hits together and have better approaches tomorrow.”
Rookie Randi Rupp went the distance for the Comets. She allowed five earned runs on 11 hits and struck out seven.
The Eagles (7-7) and Comets (0-5) meet again on Saturday at Brookside Park with first pitch scheduled for 8:05 p.m.
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.