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Team NPF defeats China 7-4 in eight innings

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. --- With winds gusting up to 50 miles-per-hour, the National ProFastpitch team outlasted the Chinese National team 7-4 in eight innings on Thursday evening at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium. An exhibition game, the international tie-breaker rule went into effect to begin the eighth inning and Team NPF took advantage scoring three runs for the eventual 7-4 victory.  

NOTE: Game two between Team NPF and Canada was cancelled in the top of the third inning at 9:03 p.m. due to lighting and incoming storms. The game will not be made up. Canada just took a 2-1 lead prior to the game being called after a fielder’s choice RBI from designated player Jennifer Yee.

Both teams will return to ASA Hall of Fame Stadium on Friday evening at 6 p.m. for competition. Team NPF will meet up against the USA Softball Women’s National team at the stadium while Canada will return against China on Field #4.

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 In game one, NPF right fielder Kristen Zaleski led the NPF going 3-for-4 with a home run and five RBI. From the circle, NPF rookie Katie Burkhart earned the win tossing five innings allowing one run and three hits while tallying four strikeouts.

For China, centerfielder Xhou Yi recorded a 3-for-5 outing while relief pitcher Yu Hui Li was saddled with the loss allowing five earned runs.

After a quiet first inning, China looked to score in the bottom of the second inning when Xin Ming Hong earned a base hit before moving to second on a Zhang Li Fang sacrifice bunt. Lu Dong Hui then laid down a base hit bunt and stole second putting two runners in scoring position; but the NPF responded closing the Chinese rally with a flyout to NPF shortstop Jaime Clark.

The NPF took a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning thanks to a Zaleski two RBI single laced through the right side. Norelle Dickson, who reached on a Chinese throwing error, scored the first run before pinch runner Veronica Wooston slid home for the security run. Wootson was running for catcher Kristen Butler who connected on a single to right field.

China responded quickly recording three runs in the bottom of the third inning for the 3-2 advantage. Zhou Yi and Yu Yan Hong both produced back-to-back singles to begin the inning. A one out Li Chun Xia base hit loaded the bases for right fielder Pan Xia who poked a two RBI single through the right side. Li Chun Xia also crossed home plate pushing the 3-2 lead on a throwing error from NPF centerfielder Shanel Scott.

Both teams were silenced in the fourth, but the swing of Zaleski combined with the wind tied the game 3-3 when she roped a solo home run to left center to lead the fifth. Shanel Scott then redeemed her previous throwing error with a base hit and stolen base before scoring on a Clark single to take the 4-3 lead.

The NPF lead was short lived when an error from first baseman Tonya Callahan put the tying run across home for China. Sun Li scored on the error after reaching base on a single through the left side.

Tied through the sixth and seventh, Clark was put on second base due to the international tie-breaker rule to lead the eighth inning. A single from Callahan and a walk from pinch hitter Kellie Wilkerson loaded the bases before pinch hitter Megan Gibson earned an RBI walk for the first run of the inning. It was Zaleski again who added insurance runs to seal the eventual win for Team NPF with a two out, two RBI single up the middle.

China went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the eighth to close the game.

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