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Norris Goes the Distance for Akron

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (June 12, 2010) _ Tennessee Diamonds coach Ernie Reynolds is seeing improvement in his team with each game, even though the score might not always indicate it.

“We have learned in the situations we have been put in the last few nights. We have learned against a team that puts pressure on us. We were better tonight than we were Friday night. We will be better Sunday.

“We are going to get to know each other and trust each other. We are going to meld our individual styles of play and become a run-producing team.”

Akron Racers’ pitcher Lisa Norris earned her second win of the series going the distance with an 8-1 win over the Tennessee Diamonds. The Racers won their third game of the five-game series Saturday night in front of 257 fans at Draper Diamond on the campus of Lipscomb University in National Pro Fastpitch play.

Reynolds has pitching depth with five players who can pitch, but the players are still working on their roles in terms of offense.

“We are going to find a rhythm,” Reynolds said. “We are going to find ways to produce runs with the short game when our big ball isn’t working.

“We are going to find ways to see pitches a little earlier. We are going to be more aggressive in counts.”

Right-hander Kristin Erb started for the Diamonds. She threw five innings, giving up six runs and eight hits. She struck out two and walked one.

Samantha Sheeley, also a right-hander, opened the sixth inning on the mound for the Diamonds. She allowed two runs on three hits. She struck out one.

 Norris had a shutout until the seventh inning when the Diamonds pushed a run across the plate. Jami Lobpries scored after opening the seventh with a single to left. Jenna Rhodes doubled with Lobpries scoring on the throw.

Norris gave up five hits. She struck out seven and walked two.

The Racers loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth inning. Erb appeared to be working out of the jam as she got Kelly Montalvo out on a fielder’s choice and struck out Trena Peel.

But Mackenzie Vandergeest hit the ball near the right field line.  Lobpries made a diving play but was unable to catch the ball. Micaela Minner, who reached base on a fielder’s choice, and Jamee Juarez, who singled to right field, scored  on the double by Vandergeest.

In the fifth the Racers add four runs as Jess Valis, Minner, Peel and Clare Burnum all singled. The Racers added two more runs in the sixth with Lisa Modglin driving in one run with a double that bounced and hit the left field wall.

Minner, Juarez and Peel each had two hits for the Racers.

Reynolds stresses that his team still has a lot of newness to shake off.

“We need to know when it is time to play soft and when it is time to lean forward and be more aggressive,” Reynolds said. “We are just coming out of spring training.

“We are in a new market with several new players. It is matter of learning where each player is going to be and having each other’s backs.”

The Diamonds close out the series with Akron Sunday at 2.  Left-hander Monica Abbott, 1-0, will start for the Diamonds.

The Racers are 3-1. The Diamonds are 1-3.

 DIAMOND GEMS: The Diamonds have scored two runs in their last 15 innings. …When Akron scored in the fourth inning it ended a string of 10 straight scoreless innings by Diamonds’ pitchers. …Tennessee’s Chelsea Spencer stole her second base in the last three games.