Springfield, MO (May 22, 2018) – The Aussie Spirit’s first road game of their inaugural National Pro Fastpitch season ended with a 5-1 loss to the Beijing Eagles in Springfield, Missouri. Travelling about three hours from their home base at Missouri Western University, the Spirit offense never really got going against Beijing pitcher Wang Lan.
Taylah Tsitsikronis provided all of the Spirit’s offence with a towering home run over left field in the fourth inning. It was her third home run in as many games, having homered in both games of the double-header the previous day.
But other than Tsitsikronis, the Australians struggled against Wang, who pitched a complete seven-inning game and allowed just one earned run, with five strikeouts and no walks. Verity Long-Droppert and Belinda White were the only other Spirit players to hit safely.
Amelia Cudicio, who has been the Spirit’s workhorse in the early part of the season, pitched four innings, allowing four earned runs on eight hits and one walk.
The Aussie Spirit welcomed a new player to their NFP team with the signing of Taylor-Paige Stewart. Stewart is an American-based pitcher who represents New Zealand in international softball competitions due to her parents being Kiwis.
Within hours of joining the team, Stewart found herself in the middle of the action, called on in relief of Cudicio. She handled the situation very well, pitching three innings and allowing just one unearned run on three hits and no walks, with one strikeout.
Stewart had a stellar college career with the University of Wisconsin, where she won 17 games in her senior year and had an ERA of 2.61, leading the highly ranked Badgers in most pitching categories including wins, strikeouts and saves.
She has represented New Zealand at World Championship and Junior World Championship level. Stewart will help ease the Aussie Spirit’s shortage of pitching during a busy early-season schedule when some of the Australian players are not available.
The defeat takes the Aussie Spirit’s win-loss record to 2-2. Their next assignment in the hectic early-season schedule is a double-header against the Eagles at the same venue tomorrow.
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.