BATON ROUGE – The NPF All-Stars defeated the LSU softball team by a 7-2 margin during an exhibition game Friday at Tiger Park which featured a pitching match-up between former NFCA All-American teammates Rachele Fico and Brittany Mack.
Mack faced her former team and looked sharp throughout. She allowed only two runs on five hits over 6.1 innings of work. The right-hander also recorded seven strikeouts on her way to the victory.
“It is definitely good for our team to face that kind of competition,” head coach Beth Torina said. “We were able to see what it takes to be at the top level at our sport. It was exciting. I was excited about the matchup all week. It was a lot of fun for the fans. Brittany has such a great following in Baton Rouge because of how much time she has put in in this community. It was nice for her to get to come back and play here.”
The 2012 All-American hurler Fico got into trouble early as she quickly loaded the bases and gave up a grand slam to Gionna DiSalvatore before recording her first out of the game. The NPF All-Stars took the early 4-0 lead and never looked back.
The Tigers responded during the home half of the frame after Sandra Simmons drew a leadoff walk and was moved to second on a Simone Heyward infield single. Bianka Bell followed with a RBI single to deep right centerfield.
The NPF All-Stars extended its lead with a single tally in the second inning. Ashley Charters and Jenn Salling connected a triple and single to make it 6-1.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Kailey McCasland connected for a solo home run off Mack to pull the Tigers back to 6-2. It was LSU’s eighth roundtripper of the fall season.
“I think we have a much better offensive mentality. I think we are swinging with a lot more confidence,” Torina said. “I think the addition of some of these freshmen really ups the level of the entire offense. Bianka just walks in and swings big. These kids that have been swinging with us for a year finally understand the system. They understand the offensive philosophy we are asking of them. They are really starting to feel their swings.”
The NPF’s added a run in the seventh inning off of reliever Meghan Patterson for the final margin of 7-2. With the victory, the NPF All-Stars improved to 56-2 during two-plus years on tour with their only losses coming from Oklahoma (2011) and Michigan (2012).
Softball Postgame Quotes
LSU vs. NPF All-Stars – October 19, 2012
Head Coach Beth Torina
On facing the NPF All-Stars…
“It is definitely good for our team to face that kind of competition. We were able to see what it takes to be at the top level at our sport.”
On facing Brittany Mack …
“It was exciting. I was excited about the matchup all week. It was a lot of fun for the fans. Brittany Mack has such a great following in Baton Rouge because of how much time she has put in in this community. It was nice for her to get to come back and play here.”
On the large amount of home runs in fall softball…
“I think we have a much better offensive mentality. I think we are swinging with a lot more confidence. I think the addition of some of these freshmen really ups the level of the entire offense. Bianka Bell just walks in and swings big. These kids that have been swinging with us for a year finally understand the system. They understand the offensive philosophy we are asking of them. They are really starting to feel their swings.”
Designated Player Kailey McCasland
On the team’s home runs in the fall…
“We have been working really hard. We have been using wood bats in practice. It is a lot easier to hit a home run with a metal bat. Using wooden bats teaches us to get the barrel of the bat out more.”
On facing Brittany Mack …
“It was different. We hit off of (Mack) all the time last year. She has gotten a lot better since she’s been in the pros. It was a fun experience to have her out here.”
Former All-American Brittany Mack
On facing her former team…
“It was a lot of fun. Before this night happened, I knew it would be a lot of fun. I knew I had to step my game up because (LSU) has been hitting well. At the same time, I was thinking playing here again would be a little sad. I was thinking at one point I was probably going to cry.”
On the Tigers outlook this season…
“I told them they are going to be in serious trouble by me if they do not make it back to the World Series. They have the material. They have had one year under Coach (Beth) Torina. Now everything is kicking in. Kailey McCasland hit one [a home run] off of me. The freshmen are looking unbelievable. They have a good chance this year.”
The USSSA Florida Pride is a professional franchise in the National Pro Fastpitch League that is owned and operated by USSSA. The amateur organization of USSSA has multi-sport coverage and encompasses teams and players from the United States and abroad.
National Pro Fastpitch is headquartered in Nashville, TN. The league, created to give elite female fastpitch players the opportunity to pursue a professional career in their chosen sport, has operated since 1997 under the names of Women’s Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Women’s Pro Softball League (WPSL). NPF is the Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball in the category of women’s fastpitch softball since 2002.
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