Carosone, Bandits claw back to claim series opener against Spirit

HUTCHINSON, Kan. — After a shaky start to their first road trip of the season, the Bandits surged to an 8-3 victory over the Aussie Spirit behind the bat of Emily Carosone in Wednesday night’s series opener at Hobart-Detter Field in Hutchinson, Kansas.

Carosone, an All-NPF selection in 2017, clobbered her first two home runs of the season, including the go-ahead blast with the Bandits trailing 3-2 in the fourth. The left-hander’s second long ball of the game came as an opposite-field solo shot in the sixth.

The former Auburn standout, now in her third season at the professional level, tied her single-season high with the two home runs and finished with a four-hit, five-RBI performance to earn Vaultz Lock It Up! Player of the Game honors.

Bandits (5-0) first baseman Courtney Gano also launched her first home run in the NPF with a solo blast to center in the third. Gano earned the league’s Rookie of the Week award Wednesday after sporting a .615 average during a four-game sweep of the Cleveland Comets.

Carosone and Gano’s offensive efforts, combined with a shutdown relief performance from Lacey Waldrop, powered the win.

Waldrop, who appeared in all four games against the Comets to open the season, continued her excellent stretch of play. The right-hander delivered four innings of work out of the bullpen to earn her first win of the season. Right-hander Shelby Turnier also tossed one inning to close the game without allowing a baserunner.

Haylie Wagner started the contest and surrendered three runs in two innings.

Spirit pitcher Monica Perry suffered the loss and fell to 2-5 on the season.

Other notable highlights included Kristyn Sandberg’s second home run of the season, a solo blast in the sixth, and a single off the bat of rookie Sashel Palacios in her first career at-bat.

The Bandits and Spirit will meet up for Game 2 of a nine-game stretch Wednesday at Wilkins Softball Complex in Wichita, Kansas. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on NPFTV.

EXTRA INNINGS

— Attendance: 762

— Vaultz Lock It Up! Player of the Game: Emily Carosone (4-for-4, 2 HR, 5 RBI)

— Tonight’s game marked the first meeting in franchise history against the Spirit, who joined the NPF before the start of the 2018 season.

— The Bandits are 5-0 to start a season for the first time since 2015 and off to their best start since 2006 when the team won six consecutive games to begin the season.

ABOUT CHICAGO BANDITS

Since 2005, the Chicago Bandits have been members of the National Pro Fastpitch league. Entering their 14th season as a franchise, the Bandits have provided the Chicago area with high-level softball talent and entertainment en route to capturing six regular season titles and four Cowles Cup championships, the most recent coming during the 2016 campaign. Located in Rosemont, the Bandits play at Parkway Bank Sports Complex, one of the premier softball facilities in the nation. Parkway Bank Sports Complex is the only stadium in the country built exclusively for a women’s professional softball team. The Bandits provide an opportunity for female fastpitch softball players to further their careers at the professional level and has included legendary figures such as Jennie Finch, Tammy Williams and Stacy May-Johnson.

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