Rachele Fico (Courtesy of Akron Racers)
AKRON, OH – August 5, 2013 – Two days after Ivy Renfroe and the Racers gave Cat Osterman her third loss of the season, Akron sent Rachele Fico to the circle to try and beat the veteran lefty and the USSSA Pride once more and split the series. But Osterman and the USSSA offense came out in full force and beat the Racers 8-2.
For the third time this series the Pride got on the board early, taking a 1-0 lead over the Racers in the top of the first inning. After getting two quick outs, Fico gave up one run but struck out Francesca Enea to end the early threat.
The Pride struck again in the top of the second inning, but like in the first inning Fico pitched herself out of a jam by getting the last out of the inning via the strikeout, this time fooling Kretschman on a 1-2 count. USSSA scored adding another run in the top of the third inning on a solo home run by Duran, three more in the top of the fourth inning, and another pair of runs in the top of the fifth inning, aided around the bases by four Akron errors.
Fico lasted until the fourth inning, when Hillary Bach relieved her with two outs. Bach pitched one complete inning, giving up two runs on four hits. Jen Mineau finished the game for Akron, pitching just over two innings of scoreless relief, giving up one hit and catching Keilani Ricketts looking to end the fifth inning.
The Racers had a chance in the bottom of the second, loading the bases with two outs thanks to two walks and a fielder’s choice, but Osterman sent Brianna Turang down swinging on three pitches to end the inning.
Osterman held Akron hitless and scoreless until the bottom of the fourth inning when Brigette Del Ponte and Jessica Garcia hit back-to-back two-out singles. With Aja Paculba at the plate, Del Ponte executed a perfect delay steal and came around to score four pitches later on Paculba’s single. But Turang went down on strikes again to end the home threat. The Racers got on the board again in the bottom of the fifth inning, scoring their second run on Charlotte Morgan’s sixth home run of the season, a high-flying solo shot that just escaped over the left field fence. In the end, however, Osterman held the Racers to just two runs on five hits for her 15th win of the season. Fico took the loss for Akron, her fifth of the season.
The Racers are scheduled to begin a four-game series against the Chicago Bandits this Thursday, August 8 at 7:05 p.m. Before the Thursday night contest the two teams will resume their halted game from June 28 at 4:35 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.
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 12th season of play in 2013.
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