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Cathi Aradi

Glory Celebrates First NPF Championship

 

National Pro Fastpitch has a new champion as the Washington Glory knocked off the Rockford Thunder 3-1 in Sunday's championship game to hoist the Cowles Cup in the franchise’s first year. 

Washington, who was an expansion team in the league, topped the NPF standings all season. The Glory won the regular season title with a record of 34-10 and followed that up by going 3-0 in the postseason. 

Oli Keohohou was once again the dagger in the side of the Thunder. Keohohou, who had hit four home runs against Rockford during the regular season, hit a 2-2 pitch from Serena Settlemier in the third inning just over the outstretched glove of Lindsay Gardner for an RBI single. 

Washington wasn't finished scoring in the frame either. Nichole Thompson delivered what would be the decisive hit of the game, a long two-RBI double off the right centerfield fence to score pinch-runner Brooke Marnitz and Amber Jackson. 

With their final outs of the season quicky approaching, the Thunder threatened to rally by loading the bases in the sixth inning after consecutive hits by Jackie Wong and Kristen Zaleski and a free pass to catcher Mackenzie Vandergeest. Kim Wendland, however, popped out to second base to end the threat. 

The Thunder got on the board for the first time in the seventh. Erin Evans led off the inning with a hit and came around to score on Wong's second hit of the game. She would be stranded at second base when Zaleski hit a smash to centerfield that Kelly Kretschman snagged to clinch the championship. 

Serena Settlemier suffered the loss as she went distance for the Thunder and allowed just three hits in the game, all of which came during the Glory third inning. 

Glory and Team USA pitcher Monica Abbott picked up the win. She pitched the first five innings and didn't allow a run to the Thunder. The win was her second of the weekend over Rockford, the first being a no-hitter on Saturday morning. Abbott earned NPF Championship Series Most Valuable Player honors for her efforts on the weekend.