By: Jami Lobpries

Ricketts went 2-0 against the Bandits
Ricketts went 2-0 against the Bandits (Photo by Andrea Thibaudeau

Kissimmee, FL-July 23, 2014– The USSSA Florida Pride welcome the Akron Racers to Florida for a four game series at ESPN Wide World of Sport Complex in Kissimmee, FL. First pitch is set for 7:05 PM (ET) on Thursday and Friday night. On Saturday, the teams will play a doubleheader starting at 5:30 PM (ET).

Currently, the Pride sit atop the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) standings with a record of 23-8 while the Racers are third with a record of 15-17. The Pride are coming off a 3-0 series win against the Chicago Bandits. Thus far in the 2014 NPF season, the Pride lead the series against the Racers 7-1. In their last game on July 15, the Racers edged the Pride 6-4 on CBS Sports Network.

Pride Players to Watch:

  • LHP Cat Osterman is off to an impressive 11-0 start in 2014. The veteran has a NPF-leading 104 strikeouts in only 66 innings. Her .424 ERA leads all pitchers.
  • Rookie Madison Shipman has been at her best against the Racers. The former Tennessee Lady Vol has hit 4 of her 5 homeruns against the Racers including 3 last series. Nine of her 18 RBIs have also come against Akron.
  • Keilani Ricketts is coming off back-to-back wins against the Chicago Bandits. The lefty (4-3) threw an impressive 12 innings against the Bandit offense allowing one earned run and striking out 6.

Racers Players to Watch

  • In her second NPF season, Akron’s Rachele Fico leads the Racer pitching staff. The former LSU Tiger is 7-5 with a 3.95 ERA. The righty leads the Racers with 42 strikeouts and 72.2 innings pitched.
  • Shortstop Nerissa Myers is having a breakout season in her first year with the Racers. The former University of Louisiana-Lafayette star leads the Racers with a .356 batting average, 7 homeruns, and 31 RBIs.

Fun Facts

  • Five former University of Texas Longhorns will be featured in this series. Four hail from the Pride roster (Blaire Luna, Osterman, Breja’e Washington, and Megan Willis) while Nadia Taylor plays for Akron.
  • The entire University of Oregon 2014 senior class will be featured in this series. Courtney Ceo and Alexa Peterson from the Pride and Kailee Cuico from the Racers were all members of the 2014 Pac-12 champion and Women’s College World Series Oregon squad.
  • The Pride’s Kelly Kretschman and Akron’s Charlotte Morgan are the top two homerun leaders in University of Alabama softball history.
  • Kristyn Sandberg, Sharonda McDonald, and Fico were all three members of the LSU softball coaching staff in 2014. In the 2014 Tuscon Regional, those three players were matched up against the Pride’s Caitlin Lowe (Arizona) and Jordan Taylor (Boston University).
  • Akron’s Ayumi Karino is the only Japanese-born player in the NPF. The outfielder was a member of Japan’s 2008 Olympic gold medal team that beat the Pride’s Duran, Kretschman, Lowe, Osterman, and Watley.

For tickets to the series visit www.dev.usssapride.com or purchase tickets at the gate at ESPN Wide World of Sport Complex. The games will be live streamed on www.usssalive.com/pride.

 

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.