Orlando, Fla. – The USSSA Florida Pride took to the field at the UCF Softball Complex today for the first time since an exhibition sweep against the Venezuela National Team at the beginning of the month. Tonight, in the first of a three game series against the NPF’s Tennessee Diamonds, the Pride looked to extend its lead after a four game sweep against the team in Nashville, Tenn.

With the evening beginning as a pitcher’s duel, a rally in the bottom of the sixth allowed the Pride to do just that. The Pride is now going into the second game of the series 5-0 against the Diamonds for the season.

Katie Burkhart started in the circle for the Pride with Megan Gibson starting for the Diamonds. Gibson shouldered the loss for the evening, giving up five runs, all earned, on four hits. Burkhart allowed only three to score off of five hits.

The Diamonds struck early with a solo home run in the top of the first from designated player Angeline Quiocho. Two consecutive walks from Burkhart put the Diamonds in position to score with pitcher Megan Gibson on second and Amanda Williams at first. Diamonds catcher Shannon Doepking came to the plate next and a pass ball on her at bat advanced both base runners, but after racking up a full count on seven pitches, Doepking grounded out to third, leaving both runners stranded.

The Pride threatened in the bottom of the third after two walks and a base hit from catcher Melissa Roth loaded the bases. With two outs and three on, Tonya Callahan took to the plate, racking up a full count before striking out looking, stranding the three base runners.

The Diamonds scored two more runs in the top of sixth, pushing their lead to three. A single from Chelsea Spencer put a runner on for the team. After advancing to scoring position on second on a steal, Spencer was able to score off of an RBI triple from Amanda Williams. A single from Doepking drove in the run from Williams but Doepking was left stranded after a pop-out in foul territory from Loryn Johnson was caught by Callahan at third.

The Pride rallied back in the bottom of the sixth. Gibson issued three consecutive walks to lead off the inning, leaving the bases loaded when Charlotte Morgan stepped to the plate. After taking a ball, Morgan hit her first home run of the season, a grand slam that scored the Pride both the tying and go-ahead runs. Megan Willis followed, making it to first on a walk. After stealing to second on Francesca Enea’s at-bat and advancing to third on Enea’s sacrifice bunt, Willis was able to score on a double from Jessica Williams. A following double from Melissa Roth saw the Pride poised to score again, but a line drive to short from Kristin Schnake retired the side.

Burkhart was able to hold the Diamonds through the top of the seventh, securing the 5-3 victory for the Pride.

The USSSA Florida Pride and the Tennessee Diamonds take to the field again tomorrow night at 7:05 pm for the second game of the Pride home series.

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.

About NPF:

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.

About USSSA:

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!