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HenryLouisAaron

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Reply with quote  #1 
The NPF Championship final 2 out of 3 game series begins today (Saturday, August 19th) at 7:00 PM (CST). Game two is scheduled for Sunday at 1:00 with the if necessary game at 4:00. All of these games will be available to see for free on NPFTV. 

The USSSA Pride beat the Chicago Bandits 4-1 Thursday and 3-1 Friday.
The Scrapyard Dawgs beat the Akron Racers 4-1 Thursday and 4-3 Friday.
So the Pride will play the Dawgs Saturday and Sunday in the final series. 

Monica Abbott had a no hitter going for 6 and 2/3 innings Thursday... but then gave up a solo HR to Shelli Robinson with 2 outs in the 7th. She struck out the next hitter to end the game with 14 Ks - while giving up just that one hit and only one walk. Ali Aguilar was the Dawgs hitting star going 2 for 2 with a HBP, a double, one RBI and two runs scored. 

In game two, the score was 3-3 when the Dawgs brought Abbott into the game in the 4th inning with runners on 1st and 2nd (with 1 out). Monica struck out the next two batters to end that threat.

Kasey Cooper walked with the bases loaded in the 5th to give the Dawgs a 4-3 lead. 

Abbott then proceeded to do this through the rest of the game:
5th: K, line out to LF, K.
6th: K, fly out to LF, K.
7th: K, K, fly out to LF. 

So Monica struck out 8 batters in 3 and 2/3 IP... to pick up her 19th win. 

In the two playoff games so far - Abbott has struck out 22 batters in 10 and 2/3 IP. 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Keilani Ricketts pitched 5 and 2/3 innings for the win in Thursdays game for the Pride - and struck out 7 while giving up just 2 hits (1 run). Jordan Taylor came in and finished the game by getting the last 4 batters out on a pop up to 2b, a gb to 3b, and two strike outs. 

The keystone combination of Romero and Pendley drove in all the Pride runs. Romero hit a two run double in the third inning - and Pendley hit a two run HR in the 6th. 

-----------------------------------------------------------

In Friday night's game, Kelsey Nunley started for the Pride and had a no hitter through 5 innings. Danielle O'Toole pitched very well for the Bandits with a shutout through 4 innings. 
The Pride took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 5th when Megan Wiggins hit a SF. Then with runners on 1st and 2nd, Kretschman hit a liner into the LF-CF gap - and both runners were off at full speed thinking that ball was a sure hit. But left fielder, Brenna Moss, had other ideas and made an excellent diving catch to rob Kretschman... and then tossed the ball in to complete the inning ending DP.

Nunley started the top of the 6th pitching to Chicago's #9 batter, Sammy Marshall. The Pride had been playing her very shallow in LF - but this time Marshall hit a deep fly to LF that Merritt could not catch up to - and Sammy ended up on third base... and the no hitter was over.

The Pride then brought in Angel Bunner - and she was facing Brenna Moss (who had just made that great play in LF). Moss hit Bunner's first pitch to the wall in CF for a triple to tie the game at 1-1. Now Chicago had the heart of their order coming up with Moss on third base with nobody out. Carosone hit a liner on a 3-1 pitch that was stabbed by Wilson at first base. Wilson made a poor throw to third base after the catch - or they might have doubled off Moss. 

Bunner then struck out Natalie Hernandez on 3 pitches for the second out. Then she struck out Jaquish for the third out. Angel was lucky that line drive was close enough to Wilson that she could make the catch... but then she came through big time with two huge strike outs.

Shelby Turnier had finished the 5th inning for Chicago - and started the 6th by walking Romero on a 3-2 count. But then she struck out both Pendley and Goodacre swinging. She was ahead of Chamberlain 1-2 and LC fouled off a couple of pitches... but then she hit a deep drive to RF that I thought might leave the yard - but it hit off the wall and she raced around the bases for a triple, scoring Romero. LC then scored an insurance run when Wilson hit a slow roller to SS for an infield single. 

Wilson stole second base. Then Merritt hit a solid single into LF... but Brenna Moss fielded the ball cleanly and threw a strike to Jaquish to get Wilson at the plate. So now Moss had made a great defensive play to end both the 5th and 6th innings. 

Bunner was left in to pitch the 7th and got 3 quick ground outs to end the game. 

****************************************

I am expecting to see a Ricketts vs. Abbott match up in Saturday's game.
HenryLouisAaron

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Reply with quote  #2 
Was going to mention this in that first post - but forgot... 
Kelly Kretschman has gone just 1 for 6 with one single in the first two playoff games. So she has a .167 BA so far... after leading the league in BA, OBP, SLG & OPS over the regular season. She will need to go 5 for 6 in the next two games to get back to that .500 BA. 
HenryLouisAaron

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Reply with quote  #3 
I also wanted to mention that Chelsea Goodacre (the Pride catcher) was awarded the NPF Rawlings Gold Glove Award for 2017. They give out just one gold glove award... to the NPF defensive player of the year. Goodacre did not make an error over the 2017 season - and she threw out 65% of the opponent base stealers. That is an amazing percentage. I'd guess the NPF average is around 25% to 33%. I will have to check that sometime.

Chelsea almost made her first error of the 2017 season in last night's game... when she hit the batter in the helmet as she was trying to throw the ball back to the pitcher. The ball went off the helmet into foul ground toward the third base area. The Pride third baseman made a quick recovery of it - and the base runner on first base did not notice what had happened early enough to take advantage of the bad throw. 
HenryLouisAaron

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Reply with quote  #4 
One last comment before tonight's NPF game starts (which will be in about 45 miniutes)... 
The TV coverage has been very good for these playoff games. Much better than it had been earlier in the season. They have excellent camera angles (using the shot from CF most of the time), and the announcers have been reasonably good.
HenryLouisAaron

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Reply with quote  #5 
The game has been delayed due to weather - and is looking to start around 8:30 CST.
spazsdad

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Reply with quote  #6 
Are they playing on a baseball field with throwdown bases again?
Kurosawa

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Reply with quote  #7 
Softball stadium. LSU's Tiger Stadium.
lovsofbal

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Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by spazsdad
Are they playing on a baseball field with throwdown bases again?


They are using LSU's field.
HenryLouisAaron

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Reply with quote  #9 
The Pride beat Monica Abbott in game one of the finals last night 5-0. Abbott and Jolene Henderson were both pitching shutouts through 4 innings. But with a runner on first, Abbott gave up a HR to Megan Wiggins for what would be the game winning hit. Monica allowed another two batters to reach base - and was taken out. Cheridan came in and promptly gave a up a bomb to Pendley that was deep over the right center wall, making the score 5-0. 

Henderson finished with a complete game shutout. Abbott threw 119 pitches in 4.1 IP.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Abbott started game two today - and this time it was she who had the complete game shutout with a 2-0 win. She threw 130 pitches to strike out 14 and did a magnificent job of coming through time and time again with runners on base. Ricketts also had a shutout going through the first 4 innings. But Nerissa Myers led off the 5th with a HR right down the RF line. Myers said Ricketts had struck her out on an inside pitch in her previous at bat - so she was waiting for that inside pitch this time. 

The Dawgs scored their second run on a perfect suicide squeeze bunt by Hannah Flippen - after Kasey Cooper had tripled down the RF line. 

Abbott came through big time in the clutch in the 4th, 5th and 6th innings. In the 4th, the Pride had runners on 1st and 2nd with 0 outs... then Monica struck out the Pride #3, #4 & #5 hitters (Merrit, Pendley & Goodacre) to get out of that threat. In the 5th, The Pride had a runner on 2nd with 1 out... then Monica got a gb to 2b and a SO to end that threat. In the 6th, the Pride had runners on 1st and 3rd with nobody out... and again Monica struck out the Pride #3, #4 & #5 batters (Merritt, Pendley & Goodacre) to get out of trouble again. She mowed down the Pride batters 1-2-3 in the 7th with a SO, a soft liner to SS and a SO. 

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The deciding game is scheduled to begin at 4:00 (about ten minutes from now).
The temperature was around 124 degrees on the infield during game one today... so it will be interesting to see how much Monica Abbott has left in her tank - for this championship game. She has thrown 249 pitches since last night's game began around 8:30 PM.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Pride dropped Sierra Romero from the #3 spot in their lineup - to #8 in this afternoon's game. She had been 8 for 8 against Abbott for the season (8 Ks in 8 AB). She had two more Ks vs. Abbott in the game... but did manage a ground out to second base. So now she is 0 for 11 with 10 Ks vs. Abbott on the season.
HenryLouisAaron

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Reply with quote  #10 
Kelly Kretschman was 1 for 6 in the first two games of the playoffs. She struck out against Abbott in her first AB last night - making her 1 for 7 (.143 BA). But... since then she has gone 5 for 6. So she enters the last game of the NPF season with a .461 BA in the playoffs (6 for 13). If she gets a hit in her next AB... she will be back at .500 for the entire season (regular season plus playoffs).
Still_JAD

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Reply with quote  #11 
Where can one find npftv?
Softball98mom

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Still_JAD
Where can one find npftv?


http://npf-tv.com/
3leftturns

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Reply with quote  #13 
Edwards just has to let that Ceo bunt go at that point and pray it can slide foul
3leftturns

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Reply with quote  #14 
COOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
3leftturns

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Reply with quote  #15 
I may be wrong yet again, but this feels like the first real pulse for this league since I have been watching.

And, playing it at a college stadium was a fine move
SmileyAnders

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Reply with quote  #16 
Not sure why the crowd isn't as good now as it was last night. Must be the heat. 
3leftturns

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Reply with quote  #17 
Has Romero lost a ton of weight, or does that white USSSA uni just make her look lilliputian?
Skinny

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Reply with quote  #18 
Ha, so good. The stacked Pride again don't get it done. Third year in a row. 
HenryLouisAaron

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Reply with quote  #19 
My recap of game 3 of the NPF Finals:

After having about a one hour break between games... Monica Abbott gave up a lead off HR to Megan Wiggins on her second pitch of the game. Pride up 1-0.

The Dawgs tied it (1-1) in the top of the 3rd when Winkfield singled to LF, advanced to 2b on a gb to SS, and then scored on a single to RF by Brittany Cervantes. 

The Pride took the lead back (2-1) in the bottom of the 3rd when Romero bunted the ball back to Abbott - and Monica threw it way over the player covering first base for an error. Ceo sacrifice bunted Romero over to 2nd... and with 2 outs, Merritt lined a single into RF to score Romero. 

It was still 2-1 going into the 6th inning. The Pride could have brought in Jordan Taylor (the best closer in the game), but they decided to leave in Angel Bunner. Bunner had come in to relieve Nunley (who gave up 1 run in 3 IP)... and Angel had retired all 6 batters she had faced. Bunner had two outs with a runner on 2b - and got ahead of Kasey Cooper 0-2. Cooper fouled off a couple pitches and battled back to a 2-2 count. Then Bunner tried to get Cooper on a chin high rise ball... but Kasey smashed it over the scoreboard in RF to give the Dawgs a 3-2 lead. Angel is primarily a drop ball pitcher - and I'm sure she would give just about anything to take back that rise ball. 

Surprisingly, the Pride left Bunner in to start the 7th... and Meagan May Whitley was glad they did - as she clobbered a 3-2 pitch way over the LF wall to put the Dawgs up 4-2. Taylor was finally brought in... but after a hit and an error and an intentional walk - Jordan walked in a run to make the score 5-2. 

Chamberlian lined a ball off the LF wall for a long single... but then Abbott took care of the next three Pride batters to end the game. She struck out 11, walked 1 and gave up 4 hits. 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Monica Abbott was named MVP of the series (for a record 4th time) and she also won her 21st game of the season (another record). Monica had thrown 361 pitches (119, 130 112) in three games over the last 22 1/2 hours (from 8:30 pm Friday to 6:00 pm Sunday). She was still bringing it at 72 mph at the end of the game. 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Sierra Romero finished the season 0 for 14 against Abbott - and struck out 12 times. She had one gb to 2b - and a bunt back to the pitcher that resulted in a throwing error. 

Kretschman went 0 for 2 with a BB in the last game - so she was 6 for 15 in the playoffs (.400 BA, .438 OBP, .400 SLG).
Megan Wiggins was the star hitter of the playoffs with two big HR off Monica Abbott (.538 BA, .563 OPB, 1.000 SLG, 1.563 OPS).

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The main reason the Pride have not won the playoffs in recent times - is that their fearsome offense just has not been all that fearsome come playoff time. Here are their main batters OPS numbers (regular season vs. post season):

Player.................  RS .......... PS
Wiggins ............. .915 ...... 1.563 (up 648 points)
Kretschman ..... 1.416 ........ .838 (down 578)
Romero ............. .943 ........ .297 (down 646)
Pendley ............. .921 ...... 1.089 (up 168)
Goodacre .......... .837 ........ .204 (down 633)
Chamberlain ...... .871 ........ .575 (down 296)
Wilson .............. .746 ........ .400 (down 346)
Merritt .............. .862 ........ .517 (down 345)

Wiggins was fantastic and Pendley was very good (against the pitchers not named Abbott)... 
but everyone else was way down offensively. This same thing happened to them last year when they weren't going up against Abbott in the finals.
Shadetree

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Reply with quote  #20 
A ton of family and friends of players in attendance plus LSU fans did a good job coming out.  I guess they are used to face of the sun heat!  Would be nice to hold the tournament in a little more accessible city though and both Tuscaloosa and Baton Rouge are not centrally located nor cheap to get to.  Amazing there wasnt more storm challenges .  Lucked out there!! 
Still_JAD

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Reply with quote  #21 
I did not follow college softball closely a few year ago, but I was surprised to learn that Angel Brunner was an Auburn graduate in 2012...so Kasey Cooper, also an Auburn graduate, homered off a fellow alumni.
Still_JAD

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Reply with quote  #22 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HenryLouisAaron

It was still 2-1 going into the 6th inning. The Pride could have brought in Jordan Taylor (the best closer in the game), but they decided to leave in Angel Bunner. Bunner had come in to relieve Nunley (who gave up 1 run in 3 IP)... and Angel had retired all 6 batters she had faced. Bunner had two outs with a runner on 2b - and got ahead of Kasey Cooper 0-2. Cooper fouled off a couple pitches and battled back to a 2-2 count. Then Bunner tried to get Cooper on a chin high rise ball... but Kasey smashed it over the scoreboard in RF to give the Dawgs a 3-2 lead. Angel is primarily a drop ball pitcher - and I'm sure she would give just about anything to take back that rise ball.


A wise man once told me, "never throw a rise ball after the 5th inning with a one run lead"...
Shadetree

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Reply with quote  #23 
interesting factoid that Brunner was winning pitcher for Chicago in Championship game last year and losing pitcher this year in Championship game for the Pride.
PH2

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Reply with quote  #24 
Sad to say, I watched zero of the NPF this summer.  The fact that it wasn't at least on CBSSports Network was a huge part of the reason why.  I don't care enough to either sit and watch this on a computer or hook a computer up to my TV.  From past seasons, it just felt way too sterile in comparison to college softball for it to stick.
jayrot

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Reply with quote  #25 
I watched two half innings of the championship series.  Once Merritt was called out on a pitch that was a 2 feet off the plate, I pretty much stopped watching the game.
Still_JAD

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Reply with quote  #26 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadetree
interesting factoid that Brunner was winning pitcher for Chicago in Championship game last year and losing pitcher this year in Championship game for the Pride.


I was surprised to learn that she pitched for Auburn.  How good was she in college?  I guess she was one of the last players for Tina Deese.
jayrot

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Reply with quote  #27 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Still_JAD


I was surprised to learn that she pitched for Auburn.  How good was she in college?  I guess she was one of the last players for Tina Deese.


She was decent in college, but she played for Deese.  Great recruiter.  I will say AU always had a decent pitcher or two, but Deese just wasn't a good enough coach.
Scupino

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Reply with quote  #28 
Her won-lost record was not that hot.
jayrot

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Reply with quote  #29 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scupino
Her won-lost record was not that hot.


Well I mean how much of that is she responsible for?

She had a career ERA of 2.24.  That ain't terrible.

In SEC only competition in 2012 she had a 3 ERA, but AU only scored 2.6 runs per conference game.  So ....
PH2

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Reply with quote  #30 
We're still judging a pitcher's worth on W/L record?  Is 2017 the equivalent to 1988 in baseball?
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