Chicago Bandits History
October 14, 2004 – The Chicago Bandits are created by Bill Conroy and Bill Sokolis.
October 14, 2004 – The Bandits announce the signing of a trio of Olympic athletes – three-time Olympic gold medalist Leah O’Brien-Amico, 2004 Olympic alternate Jaime Clark and decorated Canadian Olympic pitcher Lauren Bay.
December 23, 2004 – The Bandits announce the signing of Olympic Gold Medalist Jennie Finch.
February 7, 2005 – Bandits select Amy Harre from Southern Illinois University as the first overall pick of the 2005 NPF draft.
June 2, 2005 – The Bandits play their first game in team history against the Australian National Team. Anne Steffan records the first hit for the Bandits and Laura Harms scores the opening run in a 6-2 win.
June 23, 2005 – The Bandits mark their entry in the NPF with a 1-0 victory over the Arizona Heat on opening day.
August 27, 2005 – Jennie Finch and Lauren Bay are named 2005 Co-Pitchers of the Year as well as members of the NPF All-Star Team. Mickey Dean and Eugene Lenti are named Co-Managers of the Year as the Bandits claim the title of 2005 regular season champions.
June 2, 2006 – Chicago defeats the Venezuelan National Team 6-0 in the first game of the season.
August 26, 2006 – The Bandits collect their second consecutive regular season championship. Stacy May-Johnson is awarded the American Glove Award and NPF Rookie of the Year honors.
August 17, 2007 – The Bandits are eliminated from the playoff hunt with a 7-1 loss against the Rockford Thunder, marking the first time in team history that they have missed out on postseason play.
November 27, 2007 – Judson University in Elgin, Illinois is announced as the new home for the Bandits ahead of the 2007 season.
May 25, 2008 – Chicago holds its first-ever open tryout session for undrafted collegiate seniors. Radford University’s Ashley Carlson is selected to fill one of the final vacant roster spots.
June 6, 2008 – The Bandits open up the 2008 season on their new field at Judson with a 4-0 win over the Akron Racers. Rookie Rachel Folden drills her first career home run in the winning effort.
August 17, 2008 – With another impressive regular season campaign, the Bandits claim their third regular season title in four years as a member of the NPF.
August 22, 2008 – Third baseman Stacy May-Johnson is announced as the NPF’s Player of the Year. The Bandits continue to rack up the honors, highlighted by Rachel Folden’s Rookie of the Year campaign and head coach Mickey Dean’s staff earning the Coaching Staff of the Year award.
August 24, 2008 – Chicago captures its first championship in franchise history, defeating the Washington Glory by a 6-4 final score in Kimberly, Wisconsin. Nicole Trimboli earns Most Valuable Player recognition for her efforts in the Championship Series.
September 1, 2008 – Bill Sokolis takes over as principal and sole owner of the Bandits after previous principal owner Bill Conroy steps down.
June 16, 2009 – Jennie Finch tosses a perfect game on the road against the Philadelphia Force as the Bandits continue a red-hot 9-2 start to the 2009 season.
June 29, 2009 – The Bandits and Schaumburg Flyers agree to the first-ever “Battle of the Sexes” game to take place on July 27, 2009.
July 13, 2009 – Treacherous international relations hamper the ongoing Bandits – Venezuela series. The Bandits replace the meeting with local 18U and semi-professional teams. Replacement teams draw the best attendance crowds of the 2009 season.
July 27, 2009 – In front of a record crowd of 8,918 at Alexian Field in Schaumburg, Illinois, the Bandits defeat the Schaumburg Flyers, 4-2, in the inaugural “Battle of the Sexes” game.
August 15, 2009 – Chicago clinches the 2000 regular season championship with a 1-0 win over the Rockford Thunder. The lone run of the game came via a solo home run from third baseman Stacy May-Johnson.
October 22, 2009 – The Bandits reorganize their front office, bringing in Rockford Thunder general manager Aaron M. Moore to hold a similar position with the team.
February 12, 2010 – Former Bandits’ outfielder/shortstop Laura Harms is inducted into the Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School Hall of Fame. On the same day, pitcher Jennie Finch is selected as the 2009 USA Softball Athlete of the Year.
February 23, 2010 – The Bandits announce their first-ever “Golf Classic,” an open golf outing to be held July 13, 2010 at Marengo Ridge Golf Course in Marengo, Illinois.
July 9, 2010 – Jennie Finch pitches a perfect game against the Akron Racers at Silver Cross Field in Joliet, Illinois.
August 22, 2010 – The Bandits clinch first place during the 2010 regular season with a loss by the USSSA Pride. It marks the team’s fifth regular season championship in six seasons of existence.
August 29, 2010 – After a loss to the USSSA Pride in a decisive game three during the 2010 NPF Championship Series, longtime Bandits Stacy May-Johnson and Jennie Finch officially announce their retirements.
November 5, 2010 – The Bandits break ground for their new stadium in Rosemont, Illinois, set to open for the 2011 NPF season. Owner Bill Sokolis, catcher Rachel Folden and former pitcher Jennie Finch are on hand for the ceremony, where it is announced that the The Ballpark at Rosemont will be located at 27 Jennie Finch Way in honor of Finch’s illustrious career in the circle.
November 10, 2010 – Derrick Brown is named the Bandits’ new head coach for the 2011 season.
December 2, 2010 – Bandits announce the creation of the “Rumble in Rosemont Midwest Invitation” tournament series. The fastpitch tournament will feature teams from across the country competing for the title of “Rumble in Rosemont” champions. Teams will have the opportunity to compete on the turf at The Ballpark at Rosemont, the newly announced home of the Bandits.
February 15, 2011 – In a press conference held in Rosemont, Monica Abbott is officially introduced as a Bandit. The imposing southpaw would go on to capture a trio of Cowles Cup championships with the team.
June 4, 2011 – The Bandits officially open The Ballpark at Rosemont with a 10-0 exhibition win over the Bloomington Lady Hearts. The Bandits don special uniforms honoring the Chicago Colleens of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.
June 7, 2011 – In the first “Battle of the Sexes” game to be played at a softball stadium, the Bandits defeat the Will County CrackerJacks by a score of 6-2.
June 16, 2011 – On opening night at The Ballpark at Rosemont, Monica Abbott tosses a shutout and surrenders just one hit in a 1-0 win over the USSSA Pride.
June 24, 2011 – Monica Abbot strikes out 18 batters against the Akron Racers in a 10-0 win, setting a new NPF record for most strikeouts in a seven-inning game.
June 30, 2011 – Chicago Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano pays a special visit to The Ballpark at Rosemont prior to the Bandits’ matchup against the NPF Diamonds. Zambrano throws the ceremonial first pitch and is on hand to see a 4-0 win.
July 31, 2011 – The Bandits are honored before a Chicago White Sox game at U.S. Cellular Field for the team’s accomplishments during the 2011 season. Fans also have the opportunity to meet and interact with Bandits players during the game.
August 1, 2011 – Two-time league MVP Stacy May-Johnson announces her intentions to forego retirement and joins the Bandits for the final month of the 2011 season.
August 21, 2011 – The Bandits capture their second NPF Championship in franchise history, defeating the USSSA Pride in straight games to win the 2011 Championship Series. Monica Abbott is named MVP of the postseason after recording 30 strikeouts in 29 innings of work in the circle.
December 20, 2011 – The Village of Rosemont announces that it has won the bid to host the 2012 and 2013 NPF Championship Series. All Championship Series games will be played at The Ballpark at Rosemont, home of the Bandits.
January 5, 2012 – Darrick Brown resigns as head coach after leading the Bandits to the 2011 NPF Championship in his first year as a coach in the NPF.
April 4, 2012 – The Bandits announce the arrivals of Mike Steuerwald and Keith Berg as the team’s associate head coaches for the 2012 season.
June 2, 2012 – Amanda Williams (Marshall) and Brittany Cervantes (Kentucky) are among the Bandits’ signees following 2012 open tryouts.
June 7, 2012 – Prior to a 4-1 victory of the USSSA Pride, the 2011 championship banner is unveiled at The Ballpark at Rosemont and the Bandits officially retire the numbers of Laura Harms and Stacy May-Johnson.
June 9, 2012 – Monica Abbott tosses a no-hitter in a 1-0 shutout of the USSSA Pride. In a pre-game ceremony, the Bandits officially retire the No. 27 of Jennie Finch, as well as honor members of the 2011 championship squad with a special ring ceremony.
August 26, 2012 – League officials announce that there will be no 2012 champion as rain cancels the Championship Series final game between the Bandits and USSSA Pride. Enhanced contingency plans and procedures are implemented by the NPF for postseason cancellations.
September 19, 2012 – Bandit legend Jennie Finch is inducted into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame in a ceremony that takes place at Hawthorne Race Course in Cicero, Illinois.
April 30, 2013 – The Bandits announce the signings of Eri Yamada and Kazuki Watanabe of the Japan Softball League. Yamada and Watanabe become just the second and third Japanese players, respectively, to sign in the NPF, joining Ayumi Karino of the Akron Racers.
August 17, 2013 – The Bandits clinch the 2013 regular season title and earn an automatic bid to the NPF Championship Series with a 3-1 victory over the USSSA Pride.
August 19, 2013 – Following the conclusion of the 2013 season, second baseman Vicky Galindo announces her retirement after an eight-year NPF career. Her No. 19 jersey is immediately retired by the Bandits, joining the ranks of Jennie Finch, Stacy May-Johnson and Laura Harms.
August 21, 2013 – The Bandits hold their first end-of-the-year banquet in Rosemont, Illinois. Megan Wiggins (MVP, Most Outstanding Offensive Performer), Monia Abbott (Pitcher of the Year), Tammy Williams (Defensive Player of the Year) and Andi Williamson (Rookie of the Year) are among the award recipients, which were voted on by fans.
August 22, 2014 – The Bandits receive the No. 2 seed in the postseason after compiling a 30-18 mark during the regular season, but fall to the Akron Racers in a hard-fought three-game series and bow out of the playoffs. The decisive game came in a narrow 1-0 loss in Rosemont.
August 17, 2015 – Chicago clinches its third Cowles Cup championship in franchise history, claiming the title with back-to-back 1-0 wins over the USSSA Pride in Hoover, Alabama. The Bandits produced a clean sweep in the playoffs, winning four straight contests against the Pride and Akron Racers. Monica Abbott pitches in all four games and allows just one run while striking out 26 batters.
August 5, 2016 – Megan Blank’s walk-off home run ends a 12-inning thriller in the Bandits’ 2016 home finale against the USSSA Pride. The win helps the Bandits sneak into the postseason after amassing a 23-25 record during the regular season. Blank’s homer continues a torrid stretch for her at the plate, which saw her bat .378 over her final 27 games.
August 23, 2016 – Behind a six-inning effort of one-run ball from mid-season signee Angel Bunner, the Bandits top the USSSA Pride 2-1 in a decisive third game at the NPF Championship Series in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and claim the fourth Cowles Cup in franchise history. The Bandits are powered by back-to-back solo shots in the third inning off the bats of Taylor Edwards and Brittany Cervantes and match the Pride’s back-to-back championships of 2013 and 2014.
February 1, 2017 – The Village of Rosemont assumes ownership of the Chicago Bandits franchise for the 2017 season, installing a new management staff and coaching staff. Financial analyst Toni Calmeyn is announced as the team’s general manager and Florida assistant Sharonda McDonald is later named the team’s head coach after Mike Steuerwald departs for a front office position with the Scrap Yard Dawgs.
February 24, 2017 – The Bandits announce the signing of legendary infielder Stacy May-Johnson to a contract for the 2017 season. May-Johnson, whose No. 5 jersey was retired by the team following the 2010 season, decides to return to the NPF after a five-year hiatus, which saw her coach at numerous positions at the collegiate level, including Purdue, Louisville and her alma mater, Iowa.
June 6, 2017 – In a historic day for National Pro Fastpitch, the Bandits host the Beijing Shougang Eagles, marking the Chinese-based team’s entry into the league. Chicago’s Haylie Wagner and Ellen Sara Roberts dominate the Beijing lineup, pitching a combined shutout while allowing just two hits and striking out seven.
DRAFT HISTORY (bold indicates active player in NPF)
- 1st round, 3rd overall – Sahvanna Jaquish, C/IF, LSU
- 1st round, 4th overall – Sierra Hyland, RHP/1B, Cal Poly
- 2nd round, 8th overall – Danielle O’Toole, LHP, Arizona
- 2nd round, 11th overall – Shelby Turnier, RHP, Central Florida
- 3rd round, 17th overall – Kellsi Kloss, C, LSU
- 4th round, 22nd overall – Emily Carosone, IF, Auburn
- 4th round, 24th overall – Kristen Brown, IF, North Carolina
- 1st round, 3rd overall – Lacey Waldrop, RHP, Florida State
- 2nd round, 7th overall – A.J. Andrews, OF, LSU
- 3rd round, 13th overall – Brenna Moss, OF, Fresno State
- 4th round, 18th overall – Sammy Marshall, OF/SS, Western Illinois
- 5th round, 24th overall – Branndi Melero, OF, Auburn
- 6th round, 29th overall, Stephany LaRosa, C, UCLA
- 1st round, 4th overall – Estela Piñon, RHP, Arizona
- 2nd round, 5th overall – Sara Moulton, RHP, Minnesota
- 3rd round, 12th overall – Emily Allard, OF, Northwestern
- 4th round, 13th overall – Cheyenne Coyle, IF, Arizona State
- 5th round, 20th overall – R.T. Cantillo, OF, Ole Miss
- 1st round, 3rd overall – Jolene Henderson, RHP, California
- 2nd round, 7th overall – Michelle Gascoigne, LHP, Oklahoma
- 3rd round, 11th overall – Maggie Hull, OF, Kansas
- 4th round, 13th overall – Raven Chavanne, OF/3B, Tennessee
- 4th round, 15th overall – Mel Dumezich, RHP, Texas A&M
- 5th round, 19th overall – Jenna Marston, SS/C, Missouri
- 1st round, 2nd overall – Kimi Pohlman, OF, Washington
- 2nd round, 6th overall – Katie Schroeder, OF, UCLA
- 3rd round, 10th overall – Stephanie Ricketts, RHP, Hawaii
- 5th round, 18th overall – Adrienne Monka, 1B, Northwestern
- 1st round, 4th overall – Dorian Shaw, 1B, Michigan
- 2nd round, 8th overall – Megan Wiggins, OF, Georgia
- 3rd round, 12th overall – Alisa Goler, IF, Georgia
- 4th round, 16th overall – Kristin Shifflett, SS/2B, Radford
- 5th round, 20th overall – Kara Nelson, 2B, Illinois State
- 1st round, 4th overall – Nikki Nemetz, LHP, Michigan
- 2nd round, 8th overall – Amberly Waits, SS, Louisiana Tech
- 3rd round, 12th overall – Neena Bryant, OF, Oregon
- 4th round, 15th overall – Rachel Mitchell, OF, LSU
- 4th round, 16th overall – Christine Knauer, SS, North Carolina
- 5th round, 20th overall – Angela Findlay, OF, Michigan
- 1st round, 5th overall – Brandice Balschmiter, RHP, UMASS
- 2nd round, 10th overall – Tammy Williams, IF, Northwestern
- 3rd round, 14th overall – Jamie Schloredt, C, Sacramento State
- 3rd round, 15th overall – Jessica Valis, IF, Houston
- 4th round, 20th overall – Amber Patton, IF, DePaul
- 5th round, 25th overall – Izmena Cabrera, OF, Sacramento State
- 2nd round, 7th overall – Rachel Folden, C, Marshall
- 2nd round, 9th overall – Emily Nichols, C, Iowa
- 2nd round, 10th overall – Aileen Morales, SS, Georgia Tech
- 1st round, 1st overall – Lindsay Schutzler, SS, Tennessee
- 1st round, 5th overall – Kristie Fox, SS, Arizona
- 2nd round, 10th overall – Megan Willis, C/UT, Texas
- 2nd round, 11th overall, Stephanie Brown, OF, Notre Dame
- 2nd round, 16th overall – Amanda Williams, OF, Marshall
- 4th round, 30th overall – Jessica Williams, SS, Marshall
- 1st round, 1st overall – Amy Harre, RHP, Southern Illinois
- 2nd round, 7th overall – Megan Ciolli, OF, Notre Dame
- 3rd round, 13th overall – Christina Enea, 1B, Oklahoma
- 4th round, 19th overall – Anne Steffan, IF, Nebraska