Pride flex their muscles against Aussie Spirit

Pride flex their muscles against Aussie Spirit

After matching it win for win with the Beijing Eagles, the Aussie Spirit have found the going much tougher against the Florida-based USSSA Pride.

In four games against the Pride in their National Pro Fastpitch debut season, the Spirit have been outscored 33-2.

Overall, the Spirit have a 6-10 win-loss record. Things won’t get any easier this week, with the Spirit having two more games against the Pride at Space Coast Stadium in Viera, Florida, ahead of a five-game “home” series against the unbeaten Chicago Bandits in Kansas.

aussie spirit NPF

Head Coach Fabian Barlow talks to Jessica Torpey.

Game 14: USSSA Pride 4, Aussie Spirit 0

Aussie Spirit pitcher Monica Perry shut down the powerful Pride offence through the first two innings, but keeping them in check was always going to be a near-impossible task.

And so it proved, as the Pride collected nine hits and four runs before the game was called early due to lightning in the area.

Perry pitched three innings, giving up two runs on four hits and two walks. Amelia Cudicio pitched the final 2.2 innings, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks before the players left the field in the sixth inning.

Base-runners were scarce for the Spirit, with only Taylah Tsitsikronis getting a hit and Stacey McManus drawing a walk.

Outfielder Allexis Bennett did much of the damage for the Pride, driving in two runs on three hits. First base Hallie Wilson had two hits and scored two runs. Bennett was named the Vaultz Lock it Up Player of the Game.

Pride pitcher Jessica Burroughs earned her first win of the season after throwing four scoreless innings. Kelsey Nunely threw two hitless innings in relief while striking out three.

Space Coast Stadium in Viera, Florida

Game over at Space Coast Stadium in Viera, Florida.

Game 15, USSSA Pride 2, Aussie Spirit 0

This was a well-pitched game on both sides, but the Pride produced 10 hits to the Spirit’s two to earn the win.

Spirit starting pitcher Katie Donovan allowed only an unearned run in 2.2 innings, relying on her defence as she did not record a strikeout.

Stephanie Trczinski and Taylor-Paige Stewart also pitched effectively in relief, keeping their team in the game by allowing just one run between them.

Not for the first time, the Spirit offence failed to fire against high-quality pitching. Taylah Tsitsikronis and Jessica Torpey were the only Australian players to reach base.

Jolene Henderson was credited with the win after throwing five shutout innings and only 65 pitches. She allowed only one hit and struck out five. Kelsey Nunley again entered in relief, throwing two scoreless innings while striking out five and allowing only one hit.

Henderson was named the Vaultz Lock it Up Player of the Game for her dominance in the circle.

 

aussie spirit npf

Megan Wiggins powered the USSSA Pride offence.

Game 16: USSSA Pride 14, Aussie Spirit 1

A home run by Taylah Tsitsikronis was the only highlight for the Aussie Spirit as the succumbed to an offensive onslaught by the USSSA Pride.

Spirit pitchers Taylor-Paige Stewart, Amelia Cudicio and Katie Donovan could not contain the Pride, who collected 13 hits including two doubles and a triple.

The game also included a 30-minute delay because of lightning in the area. After the delay, Tsitsikronis launched a solo shot to centre field to make the score 14-1 in the fourth inning.

In the fifth, the Aussie Spirit got two more hits – to Jordan Lambert and Chelsea Robinson – but no runs as lightning appeared again and the game was called.

Pride pitcher Jessica Burroughs had not allowed a hit until the Tsitsikronis home run, finishing with six strikeouts.

The Vaultz Lock it up Player of the game was Megan Wiggins, who went 2-2 with two runs scored and four RBIs.

aussie spirit npf

Plenty of support from the Aussie Spirit dugout.