Bandits Win Both Games of Doubleheader over Eagles
After winning the first two games of a five game series against the Beijing Eagles, the Bandits came away with two more wins in a doubleheader sweep on Monday.
Game 1: 6-0 Bandits
Aleshia Ocasio twirled yet another shutout in the first game of the doubleheader, as the Bandits defeated the Eagles 6-0.
Ocasio pitched seven dominant innings, allowing only one baserunner while striking out six. Not only did she fool opposing batters, but Ocasio also fielded her position, as she played a role in five of the fifteen outs that were not strikeouts.
In the top of the third inning, Amanda Chidester opened the scoring for the Bandits with her team-leading eighth home run on the season. A sacrifice fly by Gwen Svekis two innings later pushed the lead to 2-0.
The Rip-It Player of the Game Hannah Flippen led off the sixth inning by hitting her sixth home run of the season. After Svekis drove in Brenna Moss with a triple to start the seventh, and Abbey Cheek drew a walk, Flippen hit the second triple of the inning, making the score 6-0.
Ocasio responded to her teammate’s offensive support by striking out two of the Eagles’ final three batters, ending the game with a score of 6-0.
Game 2: 5-1 Bandits
Thanks to timely offense and superb pitching, the Bandits took the second game of the doubleheader against the Eagles, 5-1.
In the first start since her perfect game, Rachele Fico lasted four innings, allowing one run on four hits, one walk, and one hit by pitch. Eagles’ pitcher Wang Lan had a solid outing as well, allowing only three earned runs in her seven innings of work while striking out seven Bandits.
Bandits rookie Abbey Cheek had two extra base hits in the game, including a three-run home run in the fourth inning, which led to her earning Rip-It Player of the Game honors.
The Bandits gained momentum early, as the first batter of the game, Amanda Chidester, hit a double. After the next batter, Brenna Moss, drew a walk, the Bandits were on the verge of striking first. However, a strikeout and double play ended the threat without a run for the Bandits.
The quick change in momentum worked in the Eagles’ favor, as the first two batters of the bottom of the first inning reached base. A sacrifice bunt moved the runners over, and a groundout by Xu Jia allowed the Eagles to score their first run of the series, making the score 1-0.
After Lan retired the next six hitters she faced, including a three-strikeout second inning, the Eagles seemed to be in complete control. A leadoff single by Kendall Veach in the bottom of the third inning, which was followed by a sacrifice bunt and another single, left the Eagles with runners on second and third with one out. After losing 15 straight games, it seemed like one was going to go the Eagles’ way.
The next batter, Lu Ying, hit a short fly ball to center fielder Brenna Moss. Though it seemed as if Veach tagged up and scored, Veach was eventually called out for leaving the base too early. After this, the momentum shifted radically in the Bandits’ favor and never switched back.
In the top of the fourth inning, the first two Bandits reached base on back-to-back errors. After a pop out, Abbey Cheek took advantage of the opportunity by launching a moonshot over the wall in left field, putting the Bandits on top, 3-1. One inning later, Chidester hit a two-run home run, her second of the day, to give the Bandits a 5-1 lead.
In relief of Fico, Savannah Heebner and Paige Lowary combined to strike out four batters over the final three innings, clinching the doubleheader sweep for the Bandits.
The Bandits and Eagles will play the final game of the series on Tuesday, July 30, at 2:00 CST at Jackie Robinson Ballpark in Daytona Beach, FL.
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.