AUGUST 5 UPDATE
Carolina Diamonds Take Game Three From Bandits, 10-2
HICKORY – The Carolina Diamonds bats were rolling Friday evening at Hickory’s LP Fran’s Stadium in a 10-2 victory over the Chicago Bandits.
In all, the Diamonds would hit five home runs – including two by third baseman Kelsi Weseman – and rookie pitcher Angel Bunner would throw complete game victory.
“It was a lot of fun. They hit the ball, made the adjustments we needed to and Weseman just crushed the ball,” Diamonds head coach Lisa Navas said after.
Bunner got the start for the Diamonds against Chicago’s Chandra Bell, a start which saw her strike out three and walk three in six innings.
“I had my defense there, my offense was there and my catcher (Amy Hooks) and I were on the same page so it felt great,” Bunner said. “I feel good. My body is loose and I felt like I was good to go before the game.”
Diamonds third baseman Kelsi Weseman put the Diamonds on the scoreboard first with a solo home run to right-center field in the bottom of the second inning.
Carolina would tack another on the board the next inning when Natalie Villarreal hit a home run over the right field fence to make it 2-0.
The Bandits, however, got a run in the top of the fourth when Amanda Williams brought in Amber Patton.
Weseman moved the Diamonds lead to 4-1 in the fourth, though, with her second home run in as many at bats, bringing Rachel Folden in too. It was also Weseman’s ninth home run for the season which puts her atop the league leaders, one up over Folden’s eight and Carolina first baseman GiOnna DiSalvatore’s third place seven homers. Amy Hooks soon followed with her own blast to center field, making it 5-1.
Chicago’s Kristen Butler would drive in Vicky Galindo from third in a fielder’s choice to make it 5-2 in the fifth. GiOnna DiSalvatore replied with a solo homer to left field at the Diamonds at-bat, increasing the lead to 6-2. Amy Hooks would hit a single that dropped in center field short enough for Jazyln Lunceford to round third for the Diamonds seventh run.
Amanda Kamekona then came to the plate in the bottom of the sixth and hit a two-run homer that hung in the air before clearing the left field fence. The Diamonds would score several batters later when an errant throw to first in an attempted double play secured a single for Bianca Mejia and DiSalvatore took home.
“It felt really good. I guess I was hitting the ball really well,” Weseman said. “I have been struggling a little bit and finally put it all together. I think everyone was a lot more relaxed today. We just came out here to play. Bunner pitched a great game and I wasn’t the only one, everyone was hitting the ball really well.
Last Inning Home Run Not Enough For Racers
The USSSA Pride continued their winning streak Friday with a 4-1 win over the Akron Racers at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Rain threated the game early on, but cleared up in time for the last Pink Out of the season for the Pride.
Once again, the Pride (22-11) jumped off to an early lead, scoring two runs in the first inning. Natasha Watley and Caitlin Lowe each singled to set up the runs, which were driven in by Kelly Kretschman, who delivered a 2-run single to put the Pride up 2-0.
Kristyn Sandberg scored another run in the third inning, stealing home plate after reaching base by being hit by a pitch. Andrea Duran furthered the lead with a solo homerun to centerfield in the fourth inning.
The Racers (13-21) offense never really took off — they had only five hits in the loss, and their only score was a seventh-inning homerun by Sam Marder.
Defensively, the Pride brought their “A” game, particularly in the case of Watley. The Pride shortstop made several great throws to first, including a ball that bounced into her face. Watley fielded the ball without flinching and got the out at first.
Pride pitcher Sarah Pauly (6-2) pitched an excellent game, striking out seven batters and walking one in the win.
Racers pitcher Lisa Norris (4-7) allowed six hits, four runs and three walks and struck out three in the game.
The Pride and Racers finish their series with a double header Saturday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports. Come cheer on the Pride in the final home games of the season, starting at 6 p.m.
Pride and Racers Split Double Header
The USSSA Pride split a doubleheader with the Akron Racers Saturday night at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, ending their home stretch with a loss, but taking the series against the Racers 3-1.
The Pride won the first game of the doubleheader handily, defeating the Racers 6-2.
Things looked grim for the Pride (23-12) to start. Racers (14-22) leftfielder Taylor Schlopy doubled early in the first inning on an error by Pride shortstop Natasha Watley. Sam Marder followed her up with a sacrifice fly, putting Schlopy in easy scoring position on third base. The Pride’s defense pulled through, though, ending the inning before the Racers could score.
The Pride took the opportunity to take the lead in the bottom of the first. Watley walked to start the inning, followed by a single by Caitlin Lowe. Jessica Mendoza was called out at first, but allowed Watley and Lowe to advance. Kaitlyn Sandberg then made it to first on a Racers error, which allowed Watley to score. Charlotte Morgan brought Morgan home to give the Pride a 2-0 lead at the end of the first.
The game remained uneventful until the end of the third inning, when Lowe scored on a Mendoza single, bringing the Pride lead to 3-0. Megan Willis hit a deep homerun to centerfield in the bottom of the fourth to extend the Pride lead to 4-0.
The offensive showing by the Pride continued in the fifth inning, where the Pride put up two more runs to make the score a decisive 6-0, Pride.
The Racers were not willing to give up that easily, however, and attempted a comeback in the sixth inning. Marder singled, followed by teammate Brianna Hesson, who reached base on an error. Both players would score, bring the game to 6-2. The Racers weren’t able to close the gap in the seventh, and the Pride would go on to win the first game.
Pride pitcher Danielle Lawrie (6-2) got the win in her complete game, allowing six hits and two runs and striking out four. Racers pitcher Kristina Thorson (4-5) allowed eight hits, six runs and struck out four before being replaced by teammate Erin Arevalo in the fifth inning.
Game two of the doubleheader, and the Pride’s last home game of the season, started off eerily like the first, with the Racers getting on base early due to an error by the shortstop, this time Jenn Salling, rather than Natasha Watley. The Racers runner, Lisa Modglin, then stole second and was eventually batted in by Marder to give the Racers an early 1-0 lead. The Pride defense prevented the game from getting away from them, though, and made it out of the inning with minimal damage.
The game remained quiet until the third inning, when Marder hit a homerun to make the score 2-0 Racers. The Pride’s offense finally kicked in during the third inning, as well. Jenn Salling started a rally with two outs and scored on a Ashley Charters single to make the score 2-1. Mendoza couldn’t come through with two players in scoring position, striking out and ending the inning. Mendoza found herself in a similar position in the bottom of the fifth, with two runners on and two outs, and once again failed to capitalize on the situation, striking out again.
The Racers scored again in the sixth inning, when Aja Paculba hit a RBI single to bring in Nicole Trimboli to make the score 3-1 Racers. Nicole Pauly scored on the next play, giving the Racers a 4-1 lead. The Pride then brought in Cat Osterman to replace Brittany Mack as pitcher.
Alicia Herron scored another run for the Racers in the seventh inning, running home on a wild pitch by Osterman, giving the Racers a 5-1 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh.
The Pride were unable to do anything offensively in the seventh, and lost to the Racers 5-1.
Pride pitcher Mack (5-4) allowed five hits and four runs and struck out two before being replaced by Osterman in the sixth inning.
Racers pitcher Hillary Bach (5-6) allowed six hits and one run and struck out five in the win.
The Pride now travel to Raleigh, N.C., for a four-game series against the Carolina Diamonds.