Former Hoosier Powers Philadelphia Force Past Akron Racers
June 24, 2009
AKRON, Ohio - Tory Yamaguchi is in her second of playing professional softball for the Philadelphia Force of the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) league, but she had never had a night like she did on Tuesday. The Woodland Hills, Calif., native hit two home runs against the Akron Racers, including the go-ahead solo home run to left field in the top of the ninth inning to give the Force the 4-3 win.
Yamaguchi stepped to the plate in the top of the seventh inning with the Force (2-7) trailing the Racers 3-1 and promptly delivered a deep home run to left center field that cut the lead in half. The Force then rallied later in the inning to tie the game and force extra innings. Neither team did any damage in the eighth inning and Yamaguchi was set to lead off the top of the ninth for Philadelphia. The Woodland Hills, Calif., native slammed her second home run of the game over the fence in left field to give the Force a 4-3 lead, a lead they would not relinquish. One thing that may have aided Yamaguchi in the ninth inning at bat was that she was facing a familiar foe in Brittany Weil, a 2009 graduate of Iowa, whom she had faced many times in her illustrious career at Indiana.
Yamaguchi and the Force will return to regular season play starting tonight (June 24) at 7 p.m. against the Akron Racers. To follow Yamaguchi and the Force log on to www.philadelphiaforce.com
Below is a recap of the game from www.philadelphiaforce.com:
Yamaguchi, Force Power Past Racers in Extra Innings
AKRON, Ohio - The Philadelphia Force won the first ever Rubber City Classic in extra innings, thanks in large part to the bat of Tory Yamaguchi. The Force (2-7) catcher hit two home runs as Philadelphia won the exhibition contest 4-3 in nine innings. Akron (4-6) sped out to a 3-1 lead early and held that lead until the top of the seventh inning.
With one out, Yamaguchi stepped to the plate and cut the lead to one with a home run deep to right centerfield. Akron couldn't hold the one run lead for long as Racer pitcher Kasey Reis gave up back to back singles to Lillian Hammond and Audrey LaFountain respectively. With runners on first and second, Reis got Brette Reagan to hit a groundball to shortstop Jessica Toocheck. The Racer shortstop couldn't handle the ball however and an error loaded the bases. After that, Reis couldn't find the strike zone to the next batter and her 2-0 pitch launched all the way to the backstop to score Hammond. The Force tied the game 3-3 and that would be all for Reis on the night.
After both teams had a perfect eigth inning, Yamaguchi stepped back to the plate again to start the ninth inning and hit a home run to left field this time to put the Force up 4-3, this is a lead they wouldn't give back.
After Philadelphia took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning, the Racers got right to work in the bottom of the first inning. Jessica Toocheck got on base for the first of three times on the night with a base hit to right field. Two batters later, Jenny Topping drove Toocheck in with a single down the leftfield line and Topping advanced to second on the throw home. Racers' rookie Katie Cochran got to work as she drove Topping in with an RBI single to give the Racers a 2-1 lead. Cochran would get another RBI when she drove Toocheck in for her second run of the game on a base hit that extended the Racers lead to 3-1.
From there the story would become wasted opportunities as the Racers left six runners on base from the fourth through the seventh innings. In total, Akron left ten runners stranded.
Both starters in the game pitched strong ballgames en route to no decisions. Kasey Reis surrendered one run on only four hits and one walk through the first six frames, before surrendering two runs on three hits and a walk in the final regulation inning. For the Force Margo Pruis took the circle and pitched seven innings working enough magic to keep her team in the game until they could come up with the late inning heroics. Pruis gave up three runs on nine hits and two walks in seven innings of work.
Kristen Erb picked up the victory for the Force pitching a perfect eigth and ninth innings with one strike out. Brittany Weil got the loss for the Racers working 2.2 innings of relief and allowing one run on two hits.
The Racers and Force begin their four game series in full Wednesday night at Firestone stadium at 7:05 and play all the way through Sunday afternoon.
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