Kannapolis, NC - June 16, 2012 – A late rally by the Carolina Diamonds was stopped by ace pitcher Monica Abbott, who came off the bench to get the save and give the Chicago Bandits an 8-3 victory at CMC-NorthEast Stadium in Kannapolis.
The Diamonds were down 2-0 early in the National Pro Fastpitch softball league game until second baseman Natalie Villarreal hit a shot over the fence in the fourth inning, marking her first homer of the season and also boosting her confidence.
While it was not Villarreal’s first hit of the season it was the first time she feels she really connected with the ball.
“It feels good. It gives me a little more confidence,” Villarreal said. “I am not trying to hit home runs, I am trying to get on base for my team. I just try to put the ball in play.”
Katie Burkhart got the start for the Diamonds, going four innings and giving up four hits and two runs while walking four and striking out five. Sharon Palma relieved Burkhart in the fifth and then former University of North Carolina pitcher Danielle Spaulding came in to close out the final two innings.
“I think always we were putting up a fight, but I think a few little things we didn’t capitalize on and a few things didn’t go our way,” Spaulding added. “But all in all, we are still fighting, we are still putting runners on base. We have just got to finish it and execute it.”
“We have got to have some more people stepping up. We are close. We are very, very capable. We keep putting it together and getting a little better each week and we will get some finishes on these things,” she said.
About National Pro Fastpitch: National Pro Fastpitch is headquartered in Nashville, TN. The league, created to give elite female fastpitch players the opportunity to pursue a professional career in their chosen sport, has operated since 1997 under the names of Women’s Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Women’s Pro Softball League (WPSL). NPF is the Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball in the category of women’s fastpitch softball since 2002.