SPY at 11pm still did not have a report on today’s game between the Bandits and Pride, but, when SPY last watched the ESPN broadcast, the Pride were ahead 4-3 behind Cat Osterman and a 2-run homer by Kelly Kretschman. We were very pleased that ESPN is carrying these games. NPF may be down to just four teams, but the quality of softball is very high – with a strong mix of Olympians and other national team members, and some recent college graduates. Leah O’Brien Amico was very effective on ESPN.
|A Close Contest Puts the Pride Behind in the West Texas Duel on the Diamond
The Pride closed the game with a 5-4 loss and is now 1-2 on the series.
Orlando, Fla. - The USSSA Florida Pride took to Rocky Johnson Field for the third time tonight in an attempt to take the lead in the series against the Chicago Bandits, dubbed the West Texas Duel on the Diamond. A hotly contested game, the score remained close throughout the extent of the night, but it was the Bandits who came out on top, ending the game in a 5-4 loss for the Pride.
The Bandits threatened early, with the lead-off hitter, Stacy May scoring a single, then making it to scoring position at second on a stolen base off of Vicky Galindo’s at-bat. Three quick outs ended the inning and left May stranded at the close of the first.
The Pride also started their run early. A walk from Jessica Mendoza followed by a single from Kelly Kretschman put runners in both corners when Pride rookie Amber Flores stepped to the plate. A pass ball on Flores’ at-bat drove Mendoza home and advanced Kretschman to scoring position on third. Flores made it to base on balls but the pair was left stranded when Andrea Duran ground-out to Bandits pitcher Nikki Nemitz.
Leading off the second inning for the Bandits was Jennie Finch, who, after racking up a full count whacked a triple to center field, then scored on an error from Duran at third. Two ground-outs from Angela Findlay and Rachel Mitchell followed by a strike-out from Emily Friedman ended the inning.
The Pride put themselves in prime scoring position in the bottom of the second when a single from Kristin Schnake was followed by a double from Natasha Watley. However, the third out of the inning was marked when Schnake attempted the extra base to the plate and was thrown out.
May scored the second run of the contest for the Bandits in the top of the third, initially making it on base on a single, then advancing to second on a throwing error from Pride shortstop Watley. An RBI double from Rachel Folden drove the run in, but Folden was left on base at the conclusion of the inning after a ground out from Samantha Findlay.
The top of the fourth saw the third consecutive inning for the Bandits with a run scored. A fielder’s choice allowed Mitchell to take first. She was followed by Friedman whose double drove her home and tallied the third run of the contest for the visiting team.
The Pride came back from the deficit in the bottom of the fourth, tying up the game on two runs from Tonya Callahan and Megan Willis. Callahan, who hit a single through the left field gap, was followed by a walk from Willis. A pass ball off of Bandits catcher Rachel Folden allowed the pair to advance to scoring position on second and third when Melissa Roth stepped to the plate, pinch hitting for Kristin Schnake. A single from Roth drove in both runs but a fly out to right field from Watley marked the third out of the inning and left Roth stranded at first.
The Bandits cemented their lead in the top of the fifth after consecutive singles from Galindo and Folden were followed by a double from Samantha Findlay, driving Galindo home. A subsequent double from Jennie Finch drove in the run for Rachel Folden and gave the Bandits a 5-3 lead at the close of the fifth.
Both teams were able to hold the score throughout the sixth and top of the seventh, but the Pride made a valiant attempt at a comeback in the bottom of the last inning. A single from Mendoza was followed by an RBI double from Kretschman, closing the Bandits lead to one. A ground-out to short from Amber Flores followed, putting the pressure on rookie Charlotte Morgan when she stepped in to pinch hit for Duran. A full count against her was followed by a line drive to third, brilliantly fielded by May, abruptly ending the game and giving the Bandits their second win of the series.
The USSSA Florida Pride will take to the field again tomorrow night for the fourth game of the series against the Chicago Bandits. The game, slated to begin at 5:05 EST will be aired nationally on ESPN2
ABBOTT MAKES DEBUT WITH 15 STRIKEOUTS FOR TENNESSEE DIAMONDS
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (June 11, 2010) _ The debut of left-hander Monica Abbott for the Tennessee Diamonds proved to be just the tonic the team needed to get on the winning track.
The Diamonds scored in the first inning and Abbott kept the Akron Racers off the scoreboard Friday night in a 1-0 win in National Pro Fastpitch play at Draper Diamond on the campus of Lipscomb University.
“The crowd was so enthusiastic,” Diamonds coach Ernie Reynolds said. “It was nice to seen such an enthusiastic group cheering Monica on in her first game back in Tennessee.
“We knew our backs were against the wall in this series. Our thought was to win our first game and then start thinking about flipping this series. I think we can win this one 3-2.”
Abbott, the former University of Tennessee standout and U.S. Olympic team member, was a last minute decision to start the game.
“I had been waiting for this,” Abbott said. “I was ready to go.
“I was excited to be out there and be back in Tennessee. I saw a lot of orange out there and that was great.”
Abbott held the Racers to only two hits, both by left-handed hitter Micaela Minner, who singled in the fourth inning and doubled to left center to lead off the seventh.
The first seven outs Abbott recorded were strikeouts. She finished with 15 strikeouts. She credited catcher Shannon Doepking, who has been catching Abbott since their days at the University of Tennessee, for helping her be so effective.
“Akron has been hitting the ball well in this series,” Abbott said. “We just went after them. Shannon did a great job of working with me. She called a great game.”
Reynolds stressed that the performance by Abbott was an indication of her dedication to the game of softball.
“She reported in great shape,” Reynolds said. “I thought she got stronger as the game progressed. She was really strong in the fourth and fifth innings.”
The Diamonds are 1-2. Akron is 2-1. There were 354 fans at the game.
The Diamonds scored one run in the first inning as Akron starter Taryne Mowatt, a right-hander, struggled to find the plate. Carly Wynn walked. DeDe Justice drove a ground ball through the left side. Amanda Williams walked to load the bases. Chelsie Mesa then walked to bring Wynn home.
“We were pleased to be able to get a run in the first inning,” Reynolds said. “Our team came out on the field with great intensity. It was great to see them maintain it for the entire game.”
After Mesa’s at bat, Akron brought in right-hander Jamee Juarez to pitch. Mowatt lasted two-thirds of an inning. She allowed one run and two hits. She walked three.
Juarez went the rest of the way on the mound for the Racers, shutting down the Diamonds and not allowing a hit in 5.1 innings. She walked one and struck out three.
The Racers threatened in the seventh inning. Reynolds expected that would be the case as they led off with Minner’s double. Abbott refused to yield and ended the game when she caught a pop up. There were runners on first and third at the time.
“Monica really wanted that pop up,” Reynolds said. “She faced a strong part of Akron’s order in the seventh.”
The series with Akron continues Saturday night at 7. The home stand ends Sunday at 2 p.m.
USSSA Florida Pride Fall to the Chicago Bandits 5-2
The second game of the series tied up the West Texas Duel on the Diamond at 1-1.
Orlando, Fla. - The USSSA Florida Pride took to the field against the Chicago Bandits for the second time tonight at Rocky Johnson Field in Lubbock, Tex., looking to secure a lead in the series dubbed the West Texas Duel on the Diamond. They ended the game however in a tie for the series at 1-1, after a loss to the Bandits.
The Pride led off the contest in the bottom of the first, driving in two runs. A single from center fielder Caitlin Lowe was followed by an RBI double from Jessica Mendoza who took an extra base on the hit. A sacrifice fly from Kelly Kretschman advanced Mendoza to the plate, clearing the bases. The inning ended on a swinging strike-out on Amber Flores from Bandits pitcher Jennie Finch.
The Bandits put themselves on the board in the top of the third. A single from third base player Stacy May was followed by a home run by center fielder Vicky Galindo, tying the game up for the Bandits. An infield pop fly from Finch marked the third out of the inning.
The Bandits took the lead in the top of the fifth with an in the park home-run from designated player Rachel Folden, straight to center field. A collision between Lowe and the center field wall allowed the ball to lay dormant long enough to give Folden the time to round the bases. A strike-out from Samantha Findlay followed, ending the inning for the Bandits.
The visiting team cemented their lead in the top of the sixth. A lead-off double from Finch put the Bandits in scoring position on second. A sacrifice bunt from Angela Findlay advanced Amberley Waits, who had stepped in to pinch run for Finch, to third. Emily Friedman stepped to the plate next, and made it on base on a fielder’s choice. A single from Rachel Mitchell drove in both Waits and Friedman, pushing the Bandits to five runs on the contest.
The Pride threatened in the bottom of the sixth when Kretschman made it on base on a fielder’s choice then stole a base to put her in scoring position on second. She was left stranded at the close of the inning however after a swinging strike-out from Kristin Schnake.
Pride pitcher Sarah Pauly was able to hold the Bandits in the top of the seventh, but the Pride couldn’t come back from the deficit and finished the bottom of the seventh with a quick three outs, and ending the contest with a 2-5 loss to the Bandits.
The tied series continues tomorrow night at 8:05 pm EST when the Pride and the Bandits take to Rocky Johnson Field in Lubbock, Tex. for the third time.