Oli Keohohou delivered a pair of two-run singles and Amy Kyler pitched five strong innings as the Akron Racers thumped the California Sunbirds, 11-1, Saturday afternoon at Firestone Stadium.
The Racers won their 16th straight game and improved to 18-1. Akron leads the second-place Chicago Bandits by one and one-half games (16-2) in the NPF standings. The Sunbirds fell to 0-11, including seven losses to Akron.
Leading 4-1, Akron sent 12 hitters to the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning and scored seven runs. The Racers bunched four hits, four walks, and capitalized on two Sunbird errors. After Kelly Kretschman and Keohohou walked, Tobin Echo-Hawk reached on an error to load the bases. Kristin Johnson singled to right scoring Kretschman and when Sunbird outfielder Brittany Vanderink committed a throwing error Keohohou scored as well.
Lindsey Bashor followed with a two-run single plating Echo-Hawk and Johnson and the score ballooned to 8-1. Nicole Trimboli added an RBI single and Keohohou laced a two-out, two-run single to make it 11-1.
In the top half of the inning, it appeared as though California might rally from a 4-0 deficit and climb back into the contest. Garland Cooper led off with a double to right center. Melissa Wood singled just over the head of Keohohou at first and put runners at the corners with one out.
Amanda Kamekona chopped a single over the head of Racer third baseman Crystl Bustos to score Cooper. After Jamie Wohlbach walked to load the bases, Akron pitcher Radara McHugh struck out Whitney Kroh to end the threat.
Akron scored two in the second on Keohohous two-run single. The Racers added a single run in the third on catcher Jenny Toppings RBI double to score Kristin Johnson. In the fourth, Trimboli walked and scored on an error.
Kyler, now 6-1, fanned seven and worked the first five innings, before giving way to Radara McHugh who pitched the final two innings. Eileen Canney took the loss for California.
The Racers were without the services of 2004 NPF Most Valuable Player Iyhia McMichael. McMichael ran through the temporary fence in center field last night trying to catch a home run ball and left the game.
The Racers and Sunbirds meet again Sunday at 1:05 p.m.