Natasha Watley (Photo by David Saffran)
Little Falls, NJ – July 20, 2013 - A full day of action took place under a scorching northeastern heat wave today as the NY/NJ Comets hosted the USSSA Pride in a double header. At the end of the day, with temperatures reaching 106 degrees, each team would walk away with a win.
In game one, Keilani Ricketts made her NPF pitching debut for the Pride, pitching 3 complete innings before being lifted in the top of the fourth for rookie Chelsea Thomas (0-1), who ultimately took the loss. Ricketts gave up 3 earned runs on 4 hits and 1 walk in her 3 innings pitched.
The scoring began quickly in the top of the second with the Pride striking for a run as Andrea Duran hit her second homerun in as many days. The lead was short lived however, as the Comets came up in the bottom half of the inning. The inning led off with Brittany McKinney hit by a Ricketts pitch, followed by an Angeline Quiocho double. After Ricketts erased Dorian Shaw with a strikeout, Courtney Liddle stepped up with a 2 RBI single to put the Comets ahead.
In the top half of the third, the Pride evened the score when a Kristen Sandberg single scored Caitlin Lowe. Comets battled back in the bottom half of the inning again to take their second lead of the game. Amanda Kamekona singled, Bianca Mejia followed with sacrifice bunt moving Kamekona into scoring position. Two batters later, Angeline Quiocho plated Mejia with her second double of the ballgame.
The top half of the fourth saw another lead change as the Pride scored two runs on a Nikia Williams homerun that followed a Keilani Ricketts single. Once again, the Comets would erase a Pride lead in the bottom of the fourth scoring two runs on one hit, one walk and one error bringing the score after four complete innings to 5-4. The Comets tacked on one more insurance run in the bottom of the fifth inning when Dorian Shaw blasted her first homerun of the season.
Rookie Olivia Galati (4-7) earned the complete game win for the Comets yielding 4 earned runs on 9 hits with 2 walks and 3 strikeouts. Galati has four of the Comets five total wins on the season and leads the team with a 2.59 ERA. The Comets record moved to 5-23 on the season and the Pride loss put them at 18-8.
After an exciting, back and forth first game, game two was just the opposite. The Pride came out swinging against Comet’s pitcher Taryne Mowatt as Natasha Watley set the tone early with her fourth homerun of the year in the first at-bat of the game. Mowatt went 5 innings giving up 7 earned runs on 13 hits. The Pride scored runs in 4 out of Mowatt’s 5 innings.
The star-studded Pride lineup was led by Caitlyn Lowe who went 3 for 5 with an RBI and a run scored. Lowe’s offense was just a bonus for the Pride today. The real fireworks came in centerfield as she tracked down a number of fly balls including one in the first game that snagged number 6 on Sportscenter’s top 10 plays of the night.
Lowe notched the top play and led the offense, but another big performance came from Pride pitcher Sarah Pauly. Pauly had allowed just one hit through 5 innings until a 1 out single in the 6th from Amanda Kamekona and a 2-run blast off the bat of Bianca Mejia put the Comets on the board. Pauly got out of the 6th giving up just 2 runs and followed that with a 1-2-3 inning in the 7th to finish the job. Pauly improved to 11-8 on the year with a 2.60 ERA. She showed her punch-out ability by fanning 9 batters while walking only 2.
The series finale takes place tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. EST. The game will be live on ESPN2 with the NPF broadcast team of Cara Capuano, Leah Amico and Barbara Jordan.
About USSSA Florida Pride:
The USSSA Florida Pride is a professional franchise in the National Pro Fastpitch League that is owned and operated by USSSA. The amateur organization of USSSA has multi-sport coverage and encompasses teams and players from the United States and abroad.
About National Pro Fastpitch
National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) is headquartered in Nashville, Tenn. 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 and has been since 2002.