Bandits Split Doubleheader With First-Place Wild
ROSEMONT, Ill. — The opening game of the Bandits’ five-game series against the Canadian Wild in Marion, Illinois was rained out Wednesday evening, forcing a double-header that ended in a split. The Wild lead NPF with a 13-4 record, while the Bandits are in third place at 6-3.
Game One: Bandits 8, Wild 0 (5 Innings)
The Bandits jumped on the Wild’s pitching staff early, scoring two runs in the second, four in the third and two more in the fourth en route to a run-rule victory, snapping the team’s two-game skid.
Emily Crane got the scoring started with a two-run blast over the right field wall to give the Bandits the early lead. It was the first extra-base hit of the season for the University of Missouri alum, who was making her fourth start of the year.
“I’ve been waiting for a hit like that for a while now,” Crane said. “I was pretty excited to be in the lineup tonight, and I just took that excitement and ran with it.”
The Bandits then broke the game wide open an inning later. With two on and one out, Amanda Chidester singled into right field, bringing home Hannah Flippen to extend the Bandits’ lead. Kristyn Sandberg then doubled off the left field fence to score another. The Bandits would add two more later in the inning on a double to center by Gwen Svekis.
It was the second-biggest inning of the season for the Bandits, trailing only a six-run frame in an 8-0 win over the Cleveland Comets on June 7.
Nadia Taylor capped the scoring in the fourth, hitting a pinch-hit, two-run homer to put the game into run-rule territory.
Meanwhile, Haylie Wagner was dealing in the circle. The Michigan alumna had a unique game — every ball pitched was put into play, which meant no earned strikeouts — but she was effective, allowing just two hits over four shutout innings. Danielle O’Toole pitched a scoreless fifth to complete the victory.
“It was really good for us to set the tone the way we did in the first game,” Crane said. “Hopefully it carries over to the next.”
Game Two: Wild 8, Bandits 2
This time it was the NPF’s newest addition who brought the offensive fireworks, scoring four runs in both the second and fifth innings to earn the doubleheader split. Sara Groenewegen and Jenna Caira combined to hold the Bandits to just four hits.
Two of those hits, however, left the ballpark. Abbey Cheek, the rookie out of Kentucky, hit her first NPF home run, an opposite-field shot in the second that gave the Bandits an early lead. Amanda Chidester’s first of the year, which cleared the left field fence by plenty, came in the fourth.
But even that explosion of offense was not enough. The Wild took the lead in the second and never looked back. Kelsey Jenkins’ two-run double was the key hit in that four-run inning. Kelly Barnhill relieved Rachele Fico and retired eight batters in a row at one point before things unraveled for her in the fifth. A walk and two singles plated the Wild’s fifth run, and then Shianne Brannan’s three-run homer put the game out of reach.
The Bandits will be back in action Friday evening for another doubleheader against the Wild, with the first game starting at 6:30 p.m. CT.
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.