By: Jami Lobpries

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Two-time Olympian Natasha Watley’s .364 batting avg. ranks third in the NPF

Kissimmee, FL-Auguat 7, 2015– The USSSA Florida Pride head to Firestone Stadium in Akron, Ohio this week for their final 2014 regular season series versus the Akron Racers. The Pride and Racers series begins Thursday, August 7th at 7:05 PM (ET). Games two and three are set for 7:05 PM (ET) on Friday and Saturday night while Sunday’s series finale is set for 2:05 PM (ET).

With eight games left in the 2014 National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) season, the Pride (28-12) sit atop the NPF standings, four games ahead of the Chicago Bandits (24-16). In their previous series, the Pride won three of the four games against Akron at ESPN Wide World of Sports in Kissimmee, FL. Overall, the Pride have won 10 of the 12 games they have played against the Racers in 2014. Following their series in Akron, the Pride return home to Kissimmee to host their final regular season series against the Pennsylvania Rebellion at Osceola County Stadium.

Pride Players to Watch:

  • Caitlin Lowe is currently on an impressive 15 game hit streak. The former Arizona Wildcat is 17-40 during her hit streak. Lowe’s .362 average is third on the team and fourth in the NPF.
  • The Pride offense as a whole leads the NPF in hitting so it makes sense that four of the top six hitters in the NPF hail from the Pride roster. Andrea Duran’s .402 average has taken the league lead while Natasha Watley (.364), Lowe (.362), and Madison Shipman (.350) are close behind.
  • LHP Cat Osterman continues her dominance in 2014 with her 14-0 record. The two-time Olympian from Texas leads the NPF in wins (14), strikeouts (129), and ERA (0.51).
  • Most softball fans recognize Natasha Watley as one of the greatest shortstops of all time but this year fans will notice Watley has made an unselfish position switch to left field. Watley, who had never played an inning of outfield in her NPF career, has made the switch look easy as the two-time Olympian has committed only 2 errors in 44 chances.

Racers Players to Watch

  • Shortstop Nerissa Meyers is tied for third in the NPF homerun lead with seven round trippers. The second year player out of the University of Louisiana-Lafayette leads the NPF with her 36 RBIs and ranks fifth in league batting average (.357).
  • Ayumi Karino, the only Japanese-born player in the NPF, has been on a surge recently as she has upped her batting average to .333, good for 8th in the NPF. Karino was a member of the 2008 Japan Olympic team that took  home the gold medal that year.

Fun Facts

  • This series matches up the entire 2014 senior class from the University of Oregon. The Pride’s Courtney Ceo and Alexa Peterson and the Racers’ Kailee Cucio were all seniors on the 2014 Duck team that finished as Pac-12 Champs and third overall at the Women’s College World Series (WCWS).
  • Cassie Tysarczyk from the Pride and Haley Outon from the Racers have been best friends and opponents since they were 10 years old. The two remained friends through college as they competed against each other at Texas A&M and the University of Houston and now through the NPF.
  • Brigette Del Ponte was drafted 17th overall by the Akron Racers in 2014 and hit .243 with seven homeruns for the Racers last year during her rookie season. The Pride traded for Del Ponte heading into the 2014 season.

After the Akron series, the Pride close out the 2014 NPF season at home against the Pennsylvania Rebellion. NPF Championships begin August 20th in Hoover, AL.  To purchase tickets for the final Pride home series, visit www.dev.usssapride.com, and for tickets to the NPF Championship series visit www.npfchampionship.com.

Follow all of the Pride action on Twitter @usssapride

 

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.