The Racers’ offense scattered six runs over five innings and relief pitcher Hannah Campbell escaped a bases-loaded jam as the Racers took down league-leading USSSA 6-4 Tuesday night at Firestone Stadium.
The Racers led the Pride 4-3 in the top of the fifth inning when starting pitcher Rachele Fico ran into a jam, loading the bases with two outs.
Campbell came on to preserve the lead and faced USSSA’s Kristyn Sandberg, who already has four home runs this season.
Campbell struck Sandberg out with heat, and cruised from there for a seven-out save.
“I can’t even describe it, it’s just awesome,” Campbell said of getting such a crucial strikeout. “It pumps you up as a pitcher. You don’t ever feel tired when you have the adrenaline going.”
Fico threw 4⅔ innings, allowing three earned runs and striking out four.
“Me and Rachele, we call ourselves the 1-2 punch,” Campbell said. “She has more spin, she’s right-handed. I’m left-handed, I try to bring it in there a little harder. I went in there just going after people.”
Offensively, the Racers’ offense never had a bad inning, getting at least two base runners each time up to the plate. In the first inning, Charlotte Morgan, still recovering from shoulder and knee injuries, doubled to left field to make it 1-1. Morgan then scored thanks to a great slide on a Kelley Montalvo grounder to shortstop.
Shortstop Nerissa Myers made it 3-1 over the Pride (20-8) in the second inning with an RBI single to right field.
Morgan later picked up another RBI on a single, and Ayuami Karino singled home a run in the bottom of the fifth, making it 5-3.
The most exciting run was saved for last. With Myers on third, Montalvo came to the plate two innings after striking out with the bases loaded. This time, she executed a perfect suicide squeeze, scoring Myers and bringing most of the Racers (12-16) out of the dugout in celebration.
“This shows us what we’re capable of,” Campbell said. “We have such a young team, we’re trying to figure it out. This shows we can beat anybody if we come out ready to play.”