Their first road trip of the National Pro Fastpitch season didn’t turn out as planned for the Aussie Spirit.
Losing both games of a double-header against the Beijing Eagles in Springfield, Missouri, was a tough blow for the Spirit, whose win-loss record fell to 2-4.
To make matters worse, in-form hitter Taylah Tsitsikronis left the first game with an apparent injury.
The road trip continues for the Spirit and Eagles, who head to Florida next for a six-game series at Daytona Beach starting on Saturday morning (AEST)
Game 5: Beijing Eagles 5, Aussie Spirit 2
Under threatening skies and with thunder rumbling in the distance, the Spirit and Eagles played a tight contest for five innings before the Chinese team blew the game open in the sixth.
The Aussies committed two fielding errors in the third inning to fall behind 1-0 on an RBI single by Chen Jia.
But they bounced back in the bottom of the third and took the lead. A bunt single by Jordan Lambert got things started, and Carmelle Sorensen walked. Jessica Torpey, who had come into the game to replace the injured Taylah Tsitsikronis, put the Spirit on the board with an RBI single that scored Lambert. An outfield error allowed Sorensen to follow with a second run to give the Australians a 2-1 lead.
A storm halted the Aussie Spirit momentum, and when the players returned after the delay, hits were hard to come by.
That changed in the sixth inning, when Beijing piled on four runs to reclaim and add to the lead. Spirit starting pitcher Monica Perry battled hard but allowed four hits in that inning before being relieved by Stephanie Trzcinski.
In 5.1 innings of work, Perry conceded four earned runs on seven hits and no walks, with two strikeouts. Trzcinski did not allow a run in 1.2 innings, allowing two hits and no walks, with one strikeout.
Game 6: Beijing Eagles 6, Aussie Spirit 2
The Beijing Eagles came out swinging in the second game of the double-header, scoring four runs in the first inning on four hits and a walk.
The Aussie Spirit narrowed the deficit by one run when Carmelle Sorensen doubled to drive in Tamieka Whitefield, who had led off with a walk.
But any hope the Spirit had of getting back into the game was snuffed out by Tigers pitcher Emily Watson, who struck out 10 and allowed just one earned run.
The Aussies kept battling, and added another run in the sixth inning when Verity Long-Droppert tripled and scored on Sorensen’s second hit of the game.
Taylor-Paige Stewart, who joined the Spirit camp only a day earlier, was given the ball and pitched a complete game, allowing five earned runs on nine hits and three walks, with two strikeouts.
Aussie Spirit Head Coach Fabian Barlow says …