Orlando, Fla. – After an outstanding performance in the pre-season exhibition series vs. the Venezuela National Team, finishing 5-0 for the series, the USSSA Florida Pride made its way to Lubbock, Tex. to open the 2010 National Professional Fastpitch (NPF) regular season with a game against the Chicago Bandits. The first game of the series, dubbed the “West Texas Duel on the Diamond”, gave the Pride their first win of the regular season with a final score of 16-3.
Pitcher Cat Osterman started in the circle for the Pride, allowing only two hits on no runs. She was relieved in the top of the sixth by rookie Charlotte Morgan, who allowed three runs on four hits in the top of the sixth but held the Bandits in a quick seventh to finish the contest.
The Bandits saw their first opportunity to score in the top of the first after a double from center fielder Vicky Galindo. A sacrifice fly from catcher Rachel Folden advanced Galindo to third but she was left stranded after a fly out to center from left fielder Rachel Mitchell.
The bottom of the first saw the first run of the game scored by Melissa Roth, who had made it to base on balls as the second batter of the inning. A double from Kelly Kretschman advanced Roth to the plate. Two quick outs from Pride rookies Amber Flores and Morgan marked the end of the inning.
The Pride came alive in the bottom of the second, tallying six runs on three hits. Lauren Lappin led off the inning with a walk and was followed by Tonya Callahan’s double, giving the Pride multiple scoring opportunities. A walk from Megan Willis left the bases loaded when Jessica Williams stepped to the plate. A second consecutive walk sent Williams to first and tallied an RBI for the left-fielder who brought Lappin to the plate. A single from Caitlin Lowe drove two more runs in from Callahan and Willis. Roth drove in a single before both her and Lowe stole an extra base on Kelly Kretschman’s at-bat. After making to base on a fielder’s choice, Kretschman was followed by three consecutive walks, driving in two more runs. A fielder’s choice from Lappin saw Kretschman thrown out on her way to the plate, and was followed by a 5-2-3 double play that ended the inning.
The bottom of the third saw an additional run for the Pride, scored by catcher Megan Willis and the bottom of the fourth saw another seven. Lappin led off the inning with a double, followed by consecutive singles from Callahan and Willis, the second of which drove Lappin home. Jessica Mendoza stepped into the line-up for Jessica Williams, making it to first on a walk, and putting the Pride in prime scoring position again. A fielder’s choice from Lowe allowed her to make it on base while Tonya Callahan was thrown out on her way to the plate. Kristin Schnake subbed in for Roth and hit a single, driving in an RBI from Willis. A single from Flores drove in two more runs, and three consecutive singles from Morgan, Lappin, and Callahan, drove in the final three runs of the inning.
The top of the sixth saw the first runs on the board from the Bandits. A double from Jennie Finch put the team in scoring position on a second and a stolen base from Finch gave the team a prime scoring opportunity. A walk from Rachel Mitchell followed. Right fielder Angela Findlay came to the plate next and hit the first home run of the contest, driving in three runs for the Bandits. Two consecutive singles from Nikki Nemitz ad Emily Friedman put the team in scoring position once again, but a ground-out from Amberly Waits left the pair stranded at the end of the inning.Kelly Kretschman led off the bottom of the sixth with her first homerun of the 2010 regular season, adding the final run to the scoreboard for the Pride. Three quick outs followed and a quick top seven marked the end of the contest.
The Pride and the Bandits face off again tomorrow night, June 10, in the second game of the “West Texas Duel on the Diamond” at 8:05 pm EST.
The USSSA Florida Pride joined the NPF as a franchise Team in November of 2009, operated by Florida Pride LLC. USSSA managed the Pride Team during 2009, culminating their inaugural season with a second place finish in the Championship Series. USSSA Florida Pride is sponsored by USSSA, the world’s largest amateur sports association, and is headquartered in Kissimmee, Florida.
About USSSA Florida Pride:
The USSSA Florida Pride is a professional franchise in the National Pro Fastpitch League that is owned and operated by USSSA. The amateur organization of USSSA has multi-sport coverage and encompasses teams and players from the United States and abroad.
National Pro Fastpitch is headquartered in Nashville, TN. The league, created to give elite female fastpitch players the opportunity to pursue a professional career in their chosen sport, has operated since 1997 under the names of Women’s Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Women’s Pro Softball League (WPSL). NPF is the Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball in the category of women’s fastpitch softball since 2002.
The United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA), headquartered in Osceola County, Florida, USSSA is the World’s Largest Multi-sport Athletic Organization. Founded in 1968, USSSA has grown to over 3.7 million participants, competing in 13 nationally sanctioned sports including Baseball, Fastpitch, Slow Pitch, Karate, Basketball, Soccer and more! For more information on USSSA and to register your team visit USSSA.com. Also be sure to visit USSSAToday.com for the latest USSSA News!