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Carolina Diamonds Set for Doubleheader Filled Road Trip

June 21, 2012 - National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) - Carolina Diamonds News Release

SALISBURY - The Carolina Diamonds (2-6) are set for a Florida road trip against the USSSA Pride (4-4) featuring two days of doubleheaders on the 40th anniversary weekend of Title IX being enacted.

The series begins today with the second day of doubleheaders streaming live on ESPN3.com on Saturday to celebrate the anniversary of the event.

The Diamonds continue to improve in the National Pro Fastpitch softball league and head coach Teresa Wilson expects this trend to continue after a having a few more days to practice and learn from last weekend's games. "Our series against Chicago (last weekend) was much more solid than the series against Akron (Ohio) and we set a goal to improve every week and we will see where that takes us," Wilson said.

Left-hander Katie Burkhart leads the Diamonds pitchers in the circle, going into the weekend 2-2 with a 2.33 ERA and striking out 26 while walking 11. This is countered by Pride pitcher Danielle Lawrie who is 2-0 in two starts with a 2.50 ERA, 22 strike outs and two walks. Lawrie is closely followed by Cat Osterman (1-1 in two starts with a 1.17 ERA, 18 strikes outs and one walk) and Sarah Pauly (1-1 in two starts with 2.69 ERA, 18 strike outs and three walks).

Just because the team will be facing such a strong pitcher like Cat Osterman, Danielle Lawrie or Monica Abbott with the Chicago Bandits does not mean they approach it differently.

"You are not going to put up a bunch of runs. So you have to play solid defense and stay in the game until the late innings and hope that you get the break," Wilson said. "We will be facing two more of the nation's best - the world's best - pitchers and the most feared offense in the game. We have had some good outings from our pitching and we have to continue to have those. So it's going to be four more tough games."

The Diamonds offense so far has been powered by the trio of GiOnna DiSalvatore, Bianca Mejia and Rachel Folden with Angeline Quiocho's team leading three solo home runs coming off the three hits she has had this season.

While the Pride pitching staff is able to go deeper into a game and often throws a complete game, the Diamonds pitching staff is being used for shorter bursts. Burkhart and Angel Bunner have both thrown complete games this year though.

This shorter, more repetitive use of the Diamonds pitchers will make things slightly difficult in the Florida heat and humidity over the course of two doubleheaders this weekend. And it's not just the pitchers who will be affected as the whole team is essentially on the field for seven hours or more with warm-ups thrown into account on top of the two hour games.

"So the doubleheader format really is advantageous to someone such as the Pride because typically you'd think their pitchers are capable of going very, very deep in the game and finish a lot of the cases. And then you have a team like us which is more effective when we have a mix of pitchers and when get into our bullpen and share the responsibilities ... that makes it more difficult in a doubleheader format."

Players in the NPF competed in college, something that never would have existed without the provisions allowed when Title IX was enacted forty years ago this Saturday and declared a prohibition on sex discrimination in all education fields that receive federal financial aid.

"It has given us opportunity that nothing else has," Wilson said.

Wilson remembers playing softball at the University of Missouri when she would cram nine people into her Mercury Marquis and drive off campus to a city leased practice field.

"You didn't have big sponsors. Time's have changed. That's pretty amazing where it has gone, the heights we have been able to reach and most of that is because of Title IX," she said.

To view the Carolina Diamonds schedule, purchase tickets to an upcoming game or stream live game video, visit www.yourcarolinadiamonds.com.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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