Spartanburg, S.C. – Some of the world’s top softball players were on display at Cyrill Stadium Friday night as the NPF All-Stars took an 11-1 victory over USC Upstate in an exhibition game as part of the NPF’s Back To School Tour 2012.
The Back To School Tour 2012 will see the All-Stars play 23 games against 22 different college teams in 16 states this fall. The tour is backed by USSSA and Major League Baseball.
“I thought they were an extremely good hitting team, which we knew they would be,” said Upstate head coach Chris Hawkins. “I thought we had three or four little mental mistakes and two physical mistakes that blew the game open. I wasn’t disappointed in what we did. We had a good dugout, hustled in and out and made plays when we needed it for the most part. The two pitchers who went today did fine. With Hannah (Alexander) out, they stepped up and delivered. The NPF is a great team. They are the best team in the world, so it was a good learning experience. We will not play anyone better. To see our team get some hits, execute some plays and do some good things was really good to see and I hope we can grow from this.”
After a scoreless first inning, the All-Stars jumped on top with two runs in the top of the second. Francesca Enea, Florida’s all-time home runs leader and a player for the USSSA Pride, led off the inning with a solo home run. Angeline Quiocho (BYU, Carolina Diamonds) later singled to drive in a run. Upstate got a run back in the bottom of the inning when Maddison Kieffer (Middleburg, Fla.) doubled with one out and later scored on Dana Landers’ (Simpsonville, S.C.) single.
The NPF All-Stars broke the game open in the third inning, taking a 5-1 lead. Jenn Salling (Washington, USSSA Pride) and GiOnna DiSalvatore (UCLA, Carolina Diamonds) picked up RBI hits in the inning, while Charlotte Morgan (Alabama, USSSA Pride) drove in a run on a fielder’s choice.
The All-Stars added to the lead in the fourth inning on Salling’s RBI single. Another run scored after a throwing error as the NPF opened a 7-1 lead. After a scoreless fifth inning, the All-Stars added four unearned runs in the sixth inning to take an 11-1 lead.
Sara Plourde, who was a standout pitcher at UMass, went the distance, allowing just one run on five Upstate hits to pick up the win for the NPF. Anna Miller (Portland, Ore.) took the loss for the Spartans. Jamie Ujvari (Niceville, Fla.) tossed three innings of relief for the Spartans, allowing just one earned run.
Upstate will close out its fall season Saturday afternoon when it hosts Georgia in a doubleheader starting at 1:00 at Cyrill Stadium. Georgia advanced to the NCAA Tournament a year ago and finished the season ranked in the Top 10.