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Bandits select Oklahoma’s Lowary with No. 1 overall pick

ROSEMONT, Ill. — The Chicago Bandits bolstered their pitching staff in the 2018 NPF Draft, selecting Oklahoma left-hander Paige Lowary with the No. 1 overall selection Monday night in Nashville, Tennessee.

Lowary, who led the nation in saves (11) during the 2017 season en route to earning All-Big 12 First Team honors, has continued her dominance in the circle into the 2018 season. The southpaw, who began her collegiate career at Missouri, has posted a stellar 0.76 ERA through 55 innings this season and has collected four saves.

“We think Paige’s best years are still ahead of her,” Bandits general manager Toni Calmeyn said. “Bringing a left-handed pitcher to Chicago will be great for us. We’re really excited.”

Lowary will join a talented Bandits pitching staff ahead of the 2018 season, which already features Team USA members Danielle O’Toole and Ally Carda, as well as veteran arms such as Haylie Wagner, Rachele Fico, Shelby Turnier and Lacey Waldrop.

Lowary became the first No. 1 overall pick for the Bandits since the 2007 NPF Draft, in which Tennessee’s Lindsay Schutzler earned the distinction.

The Bandits made four more selections during the 2018 draft. At No. 3 overall, the franchise selected Oregon catcher Gwen Svekis, followed by Florida pitcher/utility Aleshia Ocasio at No. 10, Baylor outfielder Jessie Scroggins at No. 15 and Oregon infielder DJ Sanders with its final pick at No. 21 overall.

Svekis became the highest draft pick in Oregon program history at third overall, surpassing Courtney Ceo and Jessica Moore, who were each selected sixth.

An All-Pac-12 Third Team selection during her junior season, Svekis has enjoyed a standout senior campaign for the fourth-ranked Ducks. The Davie, Florida, product has compiled a .339 clip at the plate with a career-high 13 home runs and 42 RBI.

Svekis has amassed a .342 career batting average in her four years at Oregon.

Ocasio, a two-time All-American at Florida, joined Lowary as an addition to the Bandits’ pitching staff. The right-hander, who also has recorded three homers and 27 RBI at the plate during the 2018 season, owns a 16-5 mark in the circle with a minuscule 1.15 ERA.

Ocasio’s efforts on both sides have helped the Gators ascend to No. 5 in the nation.

Scroggins, who became the Bandits’ first-ever selection from Baylor at No. 15 overall, is a left-handed, multi-faceted threat who paces the Bears with a .468 batting average this season, a mark which ranks top-five in the NCAA.

The Lakewood, California, product has also stolen 17 stolen bases in 22 attempts to lead the team and was named the 2017 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year.

Sanders, a first team NFCA All-American at Louisiana-Lafayette, transferred to Oregon ahead of her senior season.

As a junior, the Columbus, Mississippi, native led the NCAA with 29 home runs and 82 RBI while boasting a career-high .388 average. Her success has paralleled to Eugene, Oregon, where her 19 extra-base hits rank atop the team.

The four-time Cowles Cup champion Chicago Bandits will be back at The Ballpark at Rosemont for the 2018 season. For more information about the Chicago Bandits or to reserve your season tickets, please visit chicagobandits.com or call the box office at 877-722-6348.

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 The Ballpark at Rosemont, one of the premier softball facilities in the nation. The Ballpark at Rosemont 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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