Powers shines as Pride top Wild to start crucial series
Alex Powers (left) flips the ball to second for a force out during Thursday night's game between the USSSA Pride and the Canadian Wild. Powers also had a two-run double and scored a run as the Pride won 4-1.
VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala
The USSSA Pride couldn’t have asked for a better way to open up one of their biggest homestands of the season Thursday night.
Alex Powers continued her recent hot streak at the plate, and the Pride got some solid pitching and defense as they defeated the Canadian Wild 4-1 at the USSSA Space Coast Complex.
The win keeps the Pride (21-6) in first place in the National Pro Fastpitch League ahead of the Chicago Bandits (23-7) and the third-place Wild (16-14).
“Great teamwork,” Pride manager Gerry Glasco said. “We’ve gone from a bunch of good softball players to becoming a good softball team.
“I’m really proud of them. They’re all stepping up. Alex Powers has just been huge for us the last week-and-a-half.”
Powers had a two-run double and also walked and scored a run for the Pride Thursday night. The former Eau Gallie High School star is batting .429 with a home run, three doubles and four RBIs over her last seven games.
“I’m just seeing the ball well,” Powers said. “My goal is to just kind of slow everything down. Sometimes, the game can get pretty fast. I’m (trying to) be very mindful in my at-bats to slow it down.”
While Powers’ productivity at the plate has certainly given the Pride a boost, so has her versatility in the field. Normally a first baseman, Powers played second base for the third time this season Thursday night against the Wild. She also played a little third base during the last homestand against the Beijing Eagles.
She had not played second or third base since she was in high school.
“I was definitely nervous at first,” Powers said. “But the game doesn’t change no matter what position you’re playing, and I have really awesome teammates that help make sure I’m in the right position and that I know what I’m doing. That’s the biggest thing.”
Having players who are able to play multiple positions has been a big help for a team that has been going through some injury issues of late.
“She’s just a great player,” Glasco said of Powers. “She just plays the game. She’s not scared to do whatever I need her to.”
Powers played a role in three of the Pride’s four runs Thursday night.
Chelsea Goodacre doubled and Megan Wiggins walked to lead off the bottom of the second inning. After a sacrifice bunt by newly-acquired Brittany Cervantes moved the runners into scoring position, Powers doubled to make it a 2-0 game.
After the Wild cut the lead in half, Powers walked in the fifth inning and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Sydney Romero.
As Powers was scoring on the play, the throw from the outfield hit her in the helmet, hard enough to leave a little dot as a memento.
Kelly Kretschman, a former Satellite High star, brought home the fourth run of the game for the Pride with a suicide squeeze that scored Allexis Bennett.
Taran Alvelo got the start and the win for the Pride, going 4 1/3 innings with relief help from Jailyn Ford and Megan Good. Ford also saw some time at first base and got her first career hit.
Thursday night marked the first game of a five-game set between the Pride and the Wild, a crucial series for the defending Cowles Cup Champions who are hoping to put a little more distance between themselves and their Canadian rivals with the playoffs fast approaching.
The top two teams in the regular-season standings will qualify for the championship series.
“It’s huge,” Glasco said of the series. “If we can win three out of five, or four out of five, we can put the playoffs behind us. We know we’ll be in the top two.”
The series resumes Friday night with a game at 7, followed by a doubleheader on Saturday that begins at 5:30. The final game of the series is set for Sunday at 7.