After losing four games in a row, the Aussie Spirit rebounded in the best way possible, taking both games of a double-header against the Beijing Eagles in Florida.
Game 8: Aussie Spirit 1, Beijing Eagles 0
Welcome to the Aussie Spirit, Katie Donovan!
With some Australian pitchers unavailable in the early part of the NPF season, the Aussie Spirit have signed three Americans to fill the gaps.
The latest one is Donovan, who had joined the Spirit from the University of Utah only a day earlier and found herself starting the first game of a double-header against the Beijing Eagles in Daytona Beach, Florida.
She handled the challenge with style, not allowing a run in three innings of work and conceding just two hits and one walk, with one strikeout.
Both teams had their share of hits, but converting them into runs was a problem. It was not until the fifth inning, when Tamieka Whitefield launched a solo home run to left field, that either team could score.
With so little offensive production, the Spirit needed solid pitching — and that was exactly what they received. In relief of Donovan, Taylor-Paige Stewart and Monica Perry shut down the Eagles with two innings each of high-quality pitching to ensure the Spirit’s losing streak was over.
Any chance of adding to the score was made tough by Beijing pitcher Wang Lan, who struck out seven in another impressive performance.
Apart from Whitefield’s homer, the Spirit hits were all singles, with Stacey Webber (two), Stacey McManus, Taylah Tsitsikronis and Verity Long-Droppert all hitting safely.
Game 9: Aussie Spirit 4, Beijing Eagles 3
With such a demanding early-season schedule, the last thing either team wanted was a 10-inning game. But that’s what they had to deal with, and the Aussie Spirit came out on top.
The decisive run came from a sacrifice fly by Jessica Torpey, which scored Verity Long-Droppert in the top of the 10th inning.
The Aussie Spirit offence was led from the top, with lead-off batter and right fielder Shannon Keevers getting three of the team’s eight hits.
Torpey made the most of her two hits, driving in four runs. Long-Droppert had two hits and Taylah Tsitsikronis had one.
All three American pitchers — Monica Perry, Taylor-Paige Stewart and Katie Donovan — performed well for the Spirit. But late in the game it was Amelia Cudicio who carried the load, pitching 4.2 innings without allowing an earned run, striking out two.