Viera, FL (July 14, 2017) – Returning on home territory at the Space Coast Stadium, the USSSA Pride (21-6) rolled past the Ohio-based Akron Racers (15-14) in a long seven-inning duel. An early lead locked the win for the Pride, securing its spot on top of the NPF standings for the sixth consecutive week.
Jolene Henderson (6-1) brought home her sixth seasonal win. With the victory, Henderson earned her second seasonal complete game. During the outing, she collected five strikeouts, two walks and allowed three hits for no runs to seize her second shutout for the 2017 Season. After tonight, Henderson jumped to the fifth spot for most strikeouts in the NPF standings, with a total of 44. The Pride pitcher also sits in seventh for ERA (1.46) and is tied at fourth for most wins (6). In addition to raking fifth for wins within the 2017 NPF leaderboard, Henderson is currently the all-time winningest pitcher in the Cal Bears softball program, with a record of 130-35 in four seasons at Cal Berkley.
In the box, USSSA recorded five hits for a game batting average of .250. Outfielder Kirsti Merritt shined at the plate after a 1-for-3 performance that drove in all three USSSA runs. The former Gator currently holds a batting average of .308 with a slugging percentage of .385. Due to her six seasonal RBI, Merritt takes sixth place in the Pride leaderboard for most RBI, while ranking third for most hits (21). The back-to-back 2014 & 2015 WCWS champion also ranks second for stolen bases (10) within the 2017 NPF standings.
In the first inning of the game, both dugouts kept the score still, 0-0. The initial inning also saw Shelby Pendley and Kelly Kretschman as protagonists in the Pride defensive halves, as the USSSA shortstop and right fielder performed two outstanding diving catches to secure two outs for the Pride.
Entering the second with a bare scoreboard, USSSA took the lead clawing one run, as Merritt drove Chelsea Goodacre home with a ground ball to the Akron second baseman. As the third went blank, in the bottom of the fourth the Pride overlapped the Racers once again, with Merritt flaring a single to right center to put USSSA ahead, 3-0.
The remainder of the game persisted with an unchanged score, and in the seventh Henderson shut down the Akron lineup with a quick 1-2-3 frame to fasten the victory for USSSA, 3-0.
Next up, the Pride will face the Beijing Eagles tomorrow night at 8:05 p.m. EST at the Space Coast Stadium. Quick Facts: