Pride win season-opener, tweet by Scrap Yard Dawgs draws player’s ire
USSSA Pride third baseman Sahvannah Jaquish hits a three-run homer during Monday night's 4-0 season-opening victory over the Scrap Yard Dawgs.
VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala
On a night that was meant to serve as inspiration, professional softball was back at USSSA Space Coast Stadium Monday night.
The question is … what happens now.
Less than an hour after the USSSA Pride defeated the Scrap Yard Dawgs 4-0 in what was to be the first of seven games between two of the top professional fastpitch softball teams in the world, members of the Scrap Yard Dawgs took to Twitter and vowed to never play for the organization again.
The players were livid over a politcally-charged, since-deleted tweet posted by @ScrapYardFP during the game that showed the players standing wth their hands over their hearts during the national anthem.
It read: “Hey @realDonaldTrump Pro Fastpitch being played live @usssaspacecoast @USSAPride Everyone respecting the FLAG!”
The post drew a swift reaction. Many of they players said they felt blindsided by the remarks, which do not represent their feelings.
The two teams are scheduled to meet again Wednesday night at 6, but that may now be in doubt.
“I DO NOT support the comments made during our game by @scrapyardfp & I will not represent them,” U.S. Olympian and legendary pitcher Cat Osterman tweeted.
“We as a people are working towards change and THIS IS NOT IT.”
The Dawgs’ roster includes several Team USA players, including legendary pitchers Monica Abbott and Osterman, who are preparing for the Olympics.
Osterman was just one of a number of Scrap Yard players who wrote on Twitter they would no longer play for the organization. Several Pride players and other members of the softball community also expressed their outrage.
There has been no official announcement about the status of Wednesday’s scheduled game.
Monday’s season opener was well-played and featured solid pitching performances from both sides, plus a great night at the plate for USSSA Pride third baseman Sahvanna Jaquish.
Jaquish doubled off another legendary pitcher, Monica Abbott, hit a three-run home run against Ally Carda and drew a walk off Osterman.
“I think today was a really good day for me,” Jaquish said. “I can’t say that too often, especially against those huge names. They’re legends in softball. I’m just honored to play against them.”
Jaquish was wearing the No. 27, which had previously been worn by Pride player Bianca Bell.
“That’s probably why I hit it over (the fence) because Bianca Bell hit some bombs,” Jaquish said. “I feel like I had her with me, wearing 27.”
Abbott allowed only one hit while striking out four in three innings. Osterman also threw a scoreless inning.
Pride coach Roman Foore was not only happy with his team’s performance, he was simply thrilled to be playing softball again after the coronavirus pandemic shut down sports in mid-March.
“It was awesome to be outside and to play,” Foore said. “I’m proud of the team. It was just great for them to be able to showcase their talent. That’s one thing we talked about today -- leave it out on the field, play hard and whatever happens happens.
“Pretty dang proud of them. Pretty excited just to be outside and to compete against another team. That’s been the fun part.”
After going months without playing games – Jaquish said she had been training since October – Foore wasn’t the only one happy to be competing again.
Abbott said fans who come out to the USSSA Space Coast Complex will get a chance to see something unique given the high level of talent taking the field.
“It’s high-quality softball,” she said. “This is not softball you’re going to find at your local park. This isn’t going to be softball you’re going to find on college TV. This is the professional game, and it’s different.”
Later that night, Abbott posted a statement expressing her displeasure over the team’s tweet.
“I kneel. I kneel with my friends, teammates, and any person of color,” she wrote. “The tweet sent out by (general manager) Connie May on the ScrapYardFP account in no way reflects the athletes in this organization. It sure as heck doesn't represent my feelings and I can't believe a company I am supposed to represent would do something like this. I'm in shock.
“I believe softball to be an inclusive sport any shape, size or color can be good at this game. But it doesn't mean the organization believes the same. Being blindsided, with a tweet like this in the middle of the game, is the utter most disrespect to my Black teammates, all athletes and supporters. And this is not acceptable.”
When an official announcement is made about those games, the Viera Voice will post an update.
Neither the Scrap Yard Dawgs, or May, have addressed the matter since the tweet came to light. Late Monday night, however, the Pride released the following statement on their Facebook page:
“Last night, the USSSA Pride was tagged in a tweet which suggested our pro softball team made an anti-kneeling political statement at a recent game during the national anthem.
“As an organization, we do not condone this tweet nor do we support the intended goal of its sender – an individual who is not authorized to speak on behalf of USSSA in any capacity.
“Sadly, both the nature and the objective of this message are incredibly damaging and disrespectful to athletes, fans, and the community as a whole. More importantly, the tweet’s subtext is harmful and counterproductive to the current racial justice movement – a movement that the USSSA Pride fully supports and stands behind.
“Further, the implication that the USSSA Pride does not support its athletes’ freedom of expression both on and off-the-field is categorically untrue. We encourage all of our athletes to speak their minds and use their platforms however they feel compelled to do so.”