June 9, 2011
Score: Diamonds 4, Racers 3
AKRON, OH- The National Pro Fastpitch’s 2010 Pitcher of the Year, Lisa Norris threw a complete game for the Akron Racers, but it was the NPF Diamond’s Morgan Melloh who came out victorious in the season opener for both squads, 4-3.
Norris allowed four runs on six hits while striking out six Diamonds in 7 innings of work.
However, it was Melloh, the Diamonds’ rookie pitcher from the University of Indiana, who came away with the 4-3 complete game victory.
In the top of the second inning, former University Georgia shortstop, Kristin Schnake doubled to left scoring Brianna Hesson and Loryn Johnson. The Diamonds took the early 2-0 lead, forcing the hometown team to play from behind the entire game.
The Racers tied it up in the bottom of the fourth inning with back-to-back hits from Nicole Trimboli and Nicole Pauly. Trimboli hit a leadoff single to left and Pauly drove her home after an error by Hesson in right field, allowing Pauly to advance to third.
The ensuing hitter Micaela Minner, who went 1-for-2 on the night with one RBI, took the ball to the opposite field scoring Pauly to even the game at 2-2.
A couple of sacrifice fly balls in the top of the fifth inning put the Diamonds back on top, 4-2. After being hit by a pitch leadoff batter, Kristen Schnake, advances to third by Bianca Mejia. Mejia’s hit went down the right field line, and right fielder, Jessica Williams, was unable to hold onto as trailed into foul territory. The umpires ruled that Williams had touched the ball on the line. Advancing Mejia to second on the play. Angela Findlay put the Diamonds back on top 3-2, driving in Schnake with a sacrifice fly to left field. Megan Gibson then singled to center advancing Mejia to third. Hesson’s sacrifice plated Mejia on a fly ball to the Racers left fielder, Taylor Schlopy, Hesson’s former Georgia teammate.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Racers first-year field manager Jake Schumann went to his bench for an offensive spark. After the first two hitters were retired by Megan Melloh, Schumann called for Sharonda McDonald to hit for Minner. The former Texas A& M Aggie laid a bunt down the first base line and beat out the throw to bring the tying run to the plate.
Pinch-hitter Hoku Nohara worked a full count and drew a walk, bringing right fielder Jessica Williams up to bat. Williams grounded to second on what seemed to be a routine ground ball, but the first baseman Gibson dropped the ball allowing McDonald to bring the Racers back to within one, 4-3.
Courtney Bures, the pinch runner for Nohara, rounded third and headed home but Gibson threw a strike to Brittany Hile who applied the tag for the final out of the inning.
After a 1-2-3 seventh inning for Norris, the Racers were in position to win the game. Lisa Modglin singled, right after Kelley Montalvo laid down a sacrifice bunt that Diamonds first baseman, Megan Gibson, touched in fair territory before landing outside the foul line.
Schlopy sacrificed Modglin to third and Montalvo to second, setting up the Racers to win or at least tie the game in the bottom of the seventh inning with only one down.
Melloh got Trimboli to foul out to third base and then retired Roya St. Clair by forcing a fly ball to right to end the game.
The Racers will try and bounce back tonight against the Diamonds at 7:05 p.m. at Firestone Stadium.