NPF Report #5: Birk Comes on Strong for Playoff-Bound Philadelphia
Aug. 13, 2008
NORMAL, Ill. - While the 2008 National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) league season got off to a rocky start for former Illinois State softball player Stacy Birk, the last one-third of the campaign has been stellar for the right-hander from Huntington Beach, Calif. Birk has helped keep the Philadelphia Force afloat in the four-team NPF league playoff race, as the Force began to slide from first place in the league standings earlier this season to their current third-place standing.
Birk has been especially hot in the month of August, where she has lowered her ERA from 5.88, as of July 31, to 3.65, as of Aug. 13.
Birk helped both her ERA and the Force's push for a playoff spot Sunday when she pitched 6.2 innings against Rockford. She allowed just four hits and one earned run during the outing, and earned a no-decision after she left the game with two outs in the sixth inning and the scored tied 1-1. Philadelphia (27-17) scored the game-winning run in the top of the 10th inning, as the Force secured their hold of third place in the four-team NPF playoff race.
For the season, Birk is 0-1 in three starts with a 3.65 ERA in 23.0 innings pitched.
Shannon Nicholson, an All-American during her time as a pitcher for the Redbirds (2004-07), and Illinois State's current student assistant coach, is also playing this season in the NPF league for the Akron Racers. Akron is currently tied with New England for the fourth, and final, playoff spot with a 19-25 league record.
Nicholson is 0-0 this season with a 6.30 ERA over 10 innings, which includes one start.
Birk and Nicholson will get one last shot at facing each other in the regular season, as Akron is slated to travel to Philadelphia Wednesday through Sunday for a key four-game series against the Force that will decide the Racers' fate for the 2008 NPF league playoffs.