Rachele Fico (Courtesy of Akron Racers)
AKRON, OH – July 29, 2013 – Holiday cheer radiated from Firestone Stadium as the Racers decked the concourse to celebrate Christmas in July. The Racers responded to the festive atmosphere accordingly by lighting up the night and beating the NY/NJ Comets 8-4 in the first game of a three-game series and a three-week homestand.
The Comets got on the board first against Rachele Fico, who went the distance and picked up the win for the Racers. In the top of the third inning Courtney Liddle laced a single to left for the first hit of the game for either team. After a sacrifice, leadoff hitter Brittney Lindley launched the first pitch from Fico over the left field fence to give the Comets a two-run lead. NY/NJ scored again before the Racers got a hit off of Comets starter Sara Plourde, when slugger Dorian Shaw hit a laser line drive that barely cleared the left field fence for a solo home run in the top of the fourth inning.
But the Racers made Plourde pay when they finally got their first hit in the bottom of the fourth inning. Plourde issued free passes to Jessica Garcia and Ayumi Karino before Tess Sito came into the game to pinch hit for Aja Paculba. After taking two balls and whiffing at a strike, Sito tied the game with one swing, smacking a long home run that easily cleared the outfield fence.
Akron’s bats awoke from their hitting hibernation after Plourde walked the bases loaded and left the game in the bottom of the fifth inning. Plourde’s replacement Taryne Mowatt got the first out before Brigette Del Ponte and Ayumi Karino hit back-to-back two-run singles and Sito added to her career-high RBI total with a double that scored Karino. By the time Kelley Montalvo struck out swinging to end the inning, the Racers batted around and sent five players across the plate, taking an 8-3 lead over NY/NJ.
The Comets scored once more in the top of the sixth inning on a two-out solo shot by Kelsi Weseman, but Fico found her footing and sent them down scoreless for the final inning and a third, allowing the Racers to cruise to an 8-4 victory. The game one win gives Akron a great source of momentum as they embark upon a stretch of 15 home games in 21 days to finish out the 2013 regular season.
Despite the loss, NY/NJ displayed daring defense during the game, making several diving catches and even more valiant attempts. Left fielder Angeline Quiocho in particular hurled herself into the fence along the third base line to catch a foul pop for the second out of the fourth inning. Catcher Brittany McKinney also crashed into the backstop as she gave chase to a foul ball.
The Racers and the Comets are scheduled to play the next game of this three-game set tomorrow evening, July 30, at 7:05 p.m. Tickets are still available and can be purchased online at www.akronracers.org or by calling the ticket office at (330) 376-8188.
-Tess Sito had a monster game for the Racers, going 2-2 with four RBI and a run scored.
-Rachele Fico pitched a complete game for the Racers, giving up four runs and striking out two.
About the Akron Racers:
The Akron Racers, headquartered in Akron, OH, are the oldest existing team in the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) league. The Racers competed in the Women's Pro Softball League (WPSL) for two seasons in 1999 and 2000 and in the NPF since 2004. Historic Firestone Stadium is home to the Racers and numerous amateur events at all levels of play. The Racers kick off their 11th season of play in 2012.
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.
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Written by Nina Zimmerman for the Akron Racers