Pride Shut Out Bandits to Take Game 1 of the NPF Championship Series

Rosemont, Ill. –  The USSSA Pride won the first game of the NPF Championship Series 3-0 over the Chicago Bandits behind a strong pitching from their pitching staff on Thursday.

National Pro Fastpitch Pitcher of the Year Jolene Henderson got the start for the Pride and pitched 3 innings with no runs allowed on only 4 baserunners. While Henderson was efficient to start the game, it was Jailyn Ford who was the standout performer in relief. Taking over for Henderson in the fourth inning, Ford pitched 4 shut-out innings. In the process, Ford only allowed 1 baserunner while striking out 9 of the 13 batters she faced.

Despite the strong pitching from the Pride, Bandits starter Rachele Fico was able to keep them in the game with some strong pitching of her own. In 5.2 innings pitched, Fico allowed 2 runs on 4 hits while managing to strike out 4 batters of her own.

The Pride scored their first run off of Fico in the third inning. Alexis Bennett got things started for the Pride with a leadoff single before advancing to second base on a sacrifice bunt from Sydney Romero. After Fico struck out the next batter Kristi Merritt, Shelby Pendley hit a hard ground ball to a diving Courtney Gano at first base. While Pendley was able to beat out the play at first base, Bennett scored in the process to give the Pride a 1-0 lead.

Later on in the sixth inning, the Pride continued to add to their lead. With 2 outs in the inning, Kelly Kretchman hit a line drive towards the gap between left and center field which resulted in a double. With Danielle O’Toole coming in to relieve Fico, Shay Knighten hit a single to bring in another run for the Pride. Bianca Bell followed Knighten up with another single to bring in another run, extending the Pride’s advantage to 3-0.

The Pride and Bandits will face off again for game 2 of the NPF Championship Series on Sunday, August 16th at 7:00 C.T. at Parkway Bank Sports Complex in Rosemont, IL.


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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