Nancy Evans capped off a MVP-performance with a leadoff single in the seventh, and was later scored on a sacrifice fly by Cheryl Bolding for the game’s only run, as the West All-Stars defeated the East All-Stars in NPF’s inaugural All-Star game in Oklahoma City.
Evans collected as many hits as the entire East squad, which was shut down by strong pitching by Christa Williams and Peaches James. Kaci Clark took the loss for the East squad, giving up two of the West’s three hits.
“It’s really exciting,” said Evans of the All-Star experience. “This was a great team. We came out to have fun and we did. I really enjoyed the game.”
The pitcher’s duel epitomized what has been the norm through the first half of the NPF season. A high number of games this season have been low scoring.
“We’ve had a lot of games that have been pitching dominated,” said NPF president Richard Levine. “There has also been really solid defense in the field that has kept the game low-scoring.”
“Each game that a player steps onto the field has an impact,” said Williams. “This gave us a lot of confidence going into the second half of the season.”
Overall, the first edition of NPF’s All-Star game was a success. It began with several NPF players participating in events coinciding with Major League Baseball’s midseason classic in Houston.
“It was a great success for us,” added Levine. “We had a great doubleheader with the Olympic team, and came out and had a great 1-0 game tonight.”
NPF enters the second half of the season on Thursday. First-place Akron hosts the second-place Juggernaut while the third place Thunder travel to fifth-place Arizona. Fourth-place New England hosts California in a three game series.
Just a half game separates Akron and New York/New Jersey.
“You are going to see the standings tighten up,” said Levine. “The race for the fouth spot in the playoffs is going to be real exciting.”
The top four teams at the end of the season advance the championship playoffs, with the semifinals being a best-of-three series and the finals being best-of-five.