8-1-10 August 1 2010; ASA Championships

AUGUST 1 2010 UPDATE

ASA BEGINS CHAMPIONSHIP WEEK

For Immediate Release: 8/1/10

ASA preps for Championship Season; 18U GOLD begins on Monday in Marietta

MARIETTA, Ga. — The Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America will begin its biggest week of the year beginning Monday, August 2 with over 60 Junior Olympic (JO) National Championships taking place across the country.  With over 25 states involved in hosting tournaments and all 50 states represented in participation, ASA play will take over softball fields all across America.

“These next couple of weeks is what ASA is all about; National Champions,” said ASA Director of Membership Services Craig Cress.  “It is with great pride as we host tournaments all over the United States to crown Junior Olympic and Adult National Champions in all disciplines of ASA Play.  Being an ASA National Champion is being the “Best of the Best” and we wish all teams and tournaments the best of luck as the fun begins.”

The 18U GOLD tournament in Marietta, GA will see 64 of the top 18-Under Girls’ Fast pitch teams from 20 different states.  Pool play will take place Monday and Tuesday with a double-elimination bracket format beginning Wednesday through Saturday evening when the National Champion will be crowned. 
 POOL PLAY and BRACKET would not copy into SPY; log on to ASA web site. 

Among the largest tournaments are the ASA/USA Softball Girls’ 10U (Chattanooga, Tenn.; 47 teams);12U (Bloomington, Ind.; 101 teams); 14U (Moline, Ill.; 156 teams); 16U (College Station, Texas; 160 teams); 18U (Hemet-Menifee, Calif.; 103 teams); and 18U GOLD (Marietta, Ga.; 64 teams).

At the ASA headquarters in Oklahoma City, the 12U Girls’ Class B Southern National Championship will take place as the youngsters will get the opportunity to play at the mecca of softball in the U.S. – ASA Hall of Fame Complex.

 In the JO Boys’ Division, teams ranging from 10U to 18U will journey Rolla, Mo. looking to take home the title.  In the adult division, the coveted Men’s Major Fast pitch will take place August 5-8 in South Bend, Ind.

For a complete listing of all 2010 ASA National Championships, please visit www.asasoftball.com

Order of Finish Results will be posted on the ASASoftball.com website as they are received from tournament hosts.

ASA GOLD MARIETTA UPDATE

When the games begin Monday morning, viewers can log on to live stats:

http://gold.asasoftball.com/tournamentinfo/boxscores

ASA advises that a series of improvements have been  made at the Lost Mountain complex:  Wireless at all 8 fields, streaming from a couple fields, Live stats, box scores, coach hospitality and media/scorers food, local newspaper already did a story.

SPY will not attend – first time since 1965.  Travel budget is exhausted.  Fortunately, as noted below, ASA has made provision for generating game data, which SPY will publish as received.  (SPY has two more events on 2010 calendar, for which there are corporate sponsors hosting SPY)

NATIONAL PRO FASTPITCH

Finch, Bandits take series 4-1 after Sunday shutout

 Finch, Bandits shutout Pride to take series finale 3-0

By Andrew Phillips

ORLANDO – For the fifth consecutive game of the series, the Chicago Bandits (24-13) scored first; this time with a run in the top of the third on an RBI single from Bandits third baseman Stacy May, driving Emily Friedman, who had reached on an error, across the plate.

The Bandits would move on to score two more runs, taking a 3-0 victory over the USSSA Florida Pride (18-17), marking the fourth straight victory for Chicago. The win moved Chicago 2.5 games ahead of the Akron Racers (20-14) in first place, however the Racers play two games against the Tennessee Diamonds (8-26) Sunday afternoon.

The very next inning, in the top of the fourth, Bandits rookie Angela Findlay blasted an RBI double off the left centerfield wall, scoring  Jennie Finch from second base for a 2-0 Bandits lead.

Meanwhile, on the defensive side of the field, Jennie Finch (5-1) was wheeling and dealing to the Florida batters, racking up nine strikeouts and one walk en route to the complete game five-hit shutout victory. Finch was backed up by some excellent defense all around, but especially up the middle by Vicky Galindo who came through with a pair of diving stops on hard grounders.

Emily Friedman opened up the sixth inning with a leadoff solo home-run over the left-centerfield wall, giving the Bandits and Finch all they would need to seal the deal against the Pride.

The Pride attempted to mount a comeback in the bottom of the seventh, putting runners in scoring position on both second and third, but Finch was able to strikeout pinch hitter Caitlin Lowe to end the game and give the Bandits the 3-0 victory and a 4-1 lead on the series.

Offensively, Stacy May led Chicago with a 2-for-3 performance at the plate with one RBI. Angela Findlay, Galindo and Friedman recorded the other hits for Chicago with Findlay and Friedman getting RBIs out of the hits as well.

The Bandits return home on August 3 to battle the Indiana Slammers at Thillens Stadium in Chicago, Ill. Tickets are just $10 and can be purchased at the gate or over the phone by calling 877-7BANDIT. Thillens Stadium is located at 6404 N. Kedzie Avenue in Chicago, Ill. For more information on the Chicago Bandits, visit www.chicagobandits.com.

Racers Earn Series Win in Doubleheader Split
Akron Wins in Extras in Game One, Diamonds Swing To Victory in Game Two

AKRON, Ohio (August 1, 2010) – The Akron Racers and Tennessee Diamonds put on a show in today’s doubleheader with the Racers earning a 3-2 extra-inning victory in game one while the Diamonds clubbed their way to a convincing 10-3 win in the series finale at Firestone Stadium.

With the 4-1 series win, Akron (21-15) remains in second place atop the National Pro Fastpitch standings and sits two and a half games behind the first place Chicago Bandits while the Diamonds post a 9-27 record after today’s split.

The NPF’s top two pitchers battled in a true pitchers’ duel in game one this afternoon with Lisa Norris (12-3) prevailing once more. Norris went the distance, pitching nine innings without giving up an earned run while striking out 11 to register the win. Monica Abbott (5-6) worked 8.1 frames and gave up three runs (two earned) on nine hits while striking out six to take today’s loss.

In the ninth inning, Courtney Bures drove her second single of the game to left to get Akron on base before moving to second on Jackie Pasquerella’s sacrifice bunt. The game’s only passed ball came next as Doepking failed to hang on to an Abbott riser which skirted to the backstop, letting Bures move to third. Lisa Modglin then deposited Abbott’s 1-2 offering to the gap in right center to score today’s winning run.

The Diamonds went ahead in the third behind a pair of hits an error to take a 1-0 lead. Jenna Rhodes would lead off with a single and then score when Chelsea Spencer singled to left and advanced on a misplayed ball in left.  In the bottom of the third, Akron battled back to take a 2-1 lead as Courtney Bures singled and Jackie Pasquerella reached on a sacrifice fielder’s choice. Following an out, Sharonda McDonald reached on an infield single prior to Sam Ricketts’ sac-fly RBI single. Crystl Bustos then reached on a Loryn Johnson error which scored Pasquerella to put Akron in front.

Atop the fourth, Tennessee responded and scored in similar fashion when Chelsie Mesa drove a one-out single through the left side and Shannon Doepking reached second on two-bag error. Johnson’s RBI single to left followed, plating Mesa. Norris worked out of the two-on one out jam, hurling a pair of strikeouts to retire the side.

Abbott and Norris would then battle back and forth through four and a half scoreless innings before Modglin’s game-winning base knock.

Game Two

With a tied game heading into the top of the fifth, Tennessee clubbed four two-run homers to establish a serious 9-1 lead before taking game two, 10-3.

Kristin Erb (1-7) recorded the win in four innings, limiting Akron to a run on four hits, striking out four batters. Jamee Juarez (6-8) suffered the loss in five innings after giving up six runs (five earned) on six hits.

As they have all series long, The Diamonds struck first, doing so in the second inning when Justice reached on an error and then scored on another in tandem with Mesa’s single to right, to move ahead 1-0.  Bures tied the game with one swing of the bat in the bottom of the third on a solo shot to dead center to tie it up at 1-all.

The fourth inning was uneventful as either team failed to score but that trend would end for the Diamonds as they posted four-run frames in both the fifth and sixth.

Two-run homers from Amanda Williams and Gibson highlighted the fifth while Spencer and Johnson each blasted two-run shots in the sixth to give Tennessee a convincing, 9-1 lead.   Akron got a run back in the home half on Vandergeest’s RBI single which drove in Norris who reached based on a fielder’s choice.

After the Diamonds loaded the bases atop the seventh, Shanna Diller’s fielder’s choice RBI extended the Diamond lead, 10-2.  In the home half, the Racers tallied one more run as Modglin scored on Ricketts single to center, accounting for tonight’s final.

The Racers host  the Chicago Bandits in the final homestand of the season next week, August 6-8 at Firestone Stadium. For more information or to purchase tickets, please call 330-376-8188 or visit www.akronracers.org.

Racers Comeback To Edge Diamonds, 6-5

AKRON, Ohio (July 31, 2010) – Critical errors continued to plague the Tennessee Diamonds as the Akron Racers scored a pair of runs in the sixth to comeback and earn the 6-5 win, securing a series victory at Firestone Stadium tonight. (Saturday)

Akron won its third-straight and improved to 20-14 with tonight’s comeback. Despite outhitting the Racers 9-4, Tennessee committed three errors, dropping to 8-26 with the loss.

Jamie Southern (1-1) earned the win in three innings of relief work, holding the Diamonds scoreless and limiting them to just two hits while striking out two. Becca Heteniak (0-4) took the loss in five innings of work after giving up six runs (three earned) on four hits and striking out three. Jamee Juarez earned her second save of the season, closing out the game in the seventh.

For the third night in a row, Tennessee established an early 1-0 lead, doing so in the first inning on a two-out DeDe Justice single which plated Jenna Rhodes who also singled to start the frame.

Trena Peel put the Racers ahead in the home half with one swing of the bat on a first pitch grand slam homer—her second this season to put Akron ahead 4-1. Prior to the blast Jess Valis reached second on a Diamond error and Heteniak issued walks to Sam Ricketts and Crystl Bustos to chug the bases.

In the second, Loryn Johnson blasted her fifth home run of the season to left field, bringing Tennessee within two (4-2).

The home run derby continued for the Diamonds atop the third as Megan Gibson put the visitors in front, 5-4 on a two-out three-run blast to left center, scoring Rhodes who singled and Jessica Williams who doubled.

An uneventful inning and a half gave way to a wacky series of events in the bottom of the fifth as Akron plated a pair of runs without the benefit of a hit. Valis earned a walk before Henteniak got a pair of quick outs but walked Peel to keep Akron’s inning alive. Pinch hitter Micaela Minner then reached on an error which enabled Valis to advance a bag before the Diamonds threw the ball to second looking to get Peel but she reached base safely. In the meantime, Valis scored and Peel safely avoided a tag at third as did Minner at second. Henteniak’s wild pitch followed to give Akron the 6-5 advantage as Peel scored easily from third.   

 Monica Abbott relieved Heteniak in the sixth and sat the Racers down in order before the Diamonds attempted a comeback atop the seventh. With Juarez on to close out the seventh and two outs, Chelsea Spencer singled to left and Gibson was intentionally walked. Justice—who delivered a three-run homer atop the seventh in game two stepped to the plate but would be unsuccessful in repeating last night’s performance, flying out to right to end the game.

The Racers and Diamonds conclude the series tomorrow (Sunday, August 1) with a doubleheader scheduled to start at 2:05 p.m. EST. Fans can follow along from home by watching live on MLB.com with a $19.95 season-long subscription or live stats via www.pointstreak.com.

WOMEN’S MAJORS

Fico Pitches Perfect Game for Brakettes

By Dan Nowak, Register Staff
dnowak@newhavenregister.com

WEST HAVEN — Stratford Brakettes pitcher Rachele Fico of Oxford never thought about throwing a no-hitter, even as the winner’s bracket final of the second annual Women’s Major Softball National Championship wore on Saturday night at Biondi Field.

Fico’s only focus was to get her team to advance to today’s championship round.

As it turned out, Fico did herself one better. She threw a perfect game, striking out eight, to lead the Brakettes to a 2-0 win over the St. Louis Saints in the double-elimination tournament.

The Brakettes advance to the championship round with the first game at noon at Biondi Field. If the Brakettes win, they win the championship. If they lose, an “if” game will be played at 2 p.m.

The Brakettes will play the St. Louis Saints-New York Freedom winner of the loser’s bracket final today at 10:15 a.m. The loss to the Brakettes sent the Saints to the loser’s final and the New York Freedom defeated defending champion New York City Havoc 1-0 in the loser’s bracket semifinal on Saturday.

“I feel so great,” said a beaming Fico, getting constant pats on the back and high-fives from teammates and fans. “Everyone played great. Jess (catcher Jessica Servio) called a great game, and she’s the reason we were able to keep the batters off balance.“Every pitch I have was working tonight. We were going in and out with pitches, with changeups and fastballs and everything else.”

Fico also had the advantage and comfort of a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Carly Normandin led off with a single and Ashley Waters sacrificed her to second base. Denise Denis singled to left field, driving home Normandin to make it 1-0. Denis went to third on the throw home. Servio followed with a sacrifice fly to right field, allowing Denis to score to make it 2-0. “I can’t stress how important it was to get runs early,” Fico said. “It really lifts your spirits up.” The two-run lead held up for the rest of the game.

“That was a super outing for Rachele,” Brakettes manager John Stratton said. “She’s learned some new pitches, and (with) her speed tonight, that ball was jumping. I can’t say enough about how well our defense played, too.” Fico said nothing less than the championship will be acceptable.“We don’t just want to be in the championship round, we want to win it,” Fico said. “We’ll go home, get a good night’s sleep and come out ready to play on Sunday.”

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