AKRON, Ohio - The USSSA Pride and Rockford Thunder met in Game 1 of the NPF Championship Finals at Firestone Stadium on Saturday night, and the Pride grabbed the game one victory 4-0 behind a strong pitching performance by Sarah Pauly and timely hitting throughout the Pride lineup.
The Pride got the scoring going right away as Kristin Schnake singled with one out to right field. Two batters later Amber Jackson drove the ball back up the middle to score Schnake. That would be how the score would stay for the next three innings as Pauly and Thunder starter Allison Kime engaged in a pitcher's duel for the first half of the game.
Then in the top of the fourth the Pride broke through for a big inning, scoring three runs. Jackson, Oli Keohohou and Courtney Bures all singled to load the bases. Samantha Sheeley then came in to relieve Kime. The Thunder reliever started by throwing a wild pitch in the dirt to bring home Jackson. With runners on second and third Shannon doepking laid down a bunt that third baseman Shanna Diller fielded and then threw away to allow Doepking to reach safely and both Bures and Jessica Williams, who pinch ran for Keohohou, to score. The play gave the Pride a 4-0 lead.
That would be more than enough room for Pauly to work with as she allowed no runs on only three hits, while striking out four Rockford batters in the complete game effort. Pauly really controlled the game as she never allowed the Thunder to mount a serious threat to the Pride's lead Kime picked up the loss for the Thunder throwing three innings and allowing four runs, three earned, on five hits and two walks while striking out a pair.
The Pride and Bandits will lock up in game two of the Championship Series Sunday afternoon at 1 PM with a deciding game three to follow if necessary. For ticket information contact the Akron Racers' ticket office at 330-376-8188 or order your tickets online at www.akronracers.org.
Tickets for the Championship series are available by calling the Akron Racers Box Office at 330-376-8188 or online at ticketreturn.com. Fans who can't come to Akron can WATCH LIVE through NPF's partnership with MLB.com.
Friday, August 21st:
Playoff Game #1 - Bandits 1 vs. Pride 0
Playoff Game #2 - Racers 1 vs. Thunder 0
Playoff Game #3 - Bandits 1 vs. Pride 2
Playoff game #4 - Thunder 5 vs. Racers 1
Saturday, August 22nd:
Playoff Game #5 - tie-breaker between the Chicago Bandits 0 and USSSA Pride 2
Playoff Game #6 - tie-breaker between the Akron Racers 2 and Rockford Thunder 7
Championship Game #1 - Pride 4 vs. Thunder 0
Sunday, August 23rd: Gates will open at 9 am
Championship Game #2 - Thunder vs Pride
CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS - 4:00 pm (TIE-BREAKER if necessary)
Tickets for the Championship games will be priced as follows for EACH game:
$8 - Stadium Seating/Cambria Suites Bleachers/Terrace Seating
$9 - VIP Seating
A post-game trophy and championship MVP Award Presentation will follow upon conclusion of the championship game with the Cowles Cup being presented to the 2009 NPF Champion.
How to Watch
Fans unavailable to make the trip to Akron, Ohio to catch the Championship Series in person can tune in from home. All games will be streamed via profastpitch.com thanks to NPF’s partnership with MLB.com. Bernie Guenther will handle the play-by-play action. Live statistics will also be available via Gametracker. Go to the “Live-Games” page for Broadcast and Gametracker links and WATCH LIVE!
To purchase tickets, call the Akron Racers Box Office at 330-376-8188 or go Ticket Return.com.