Sandberg’s slam backs Ocasio’s strong start as Bandits march to 11-0

ROSEMONT — Kristyn Sandberg’s first-inning grand slam ignited a five-run opening frame and the Chicago Bandits claimed an 8-2 win over the Aussie Spirit on Saturday night at Parkway Bank Sports Complex.

The blast, which marked Sandberg’s fourth of the 2018 season, provided plenty of offensive support to a combined effort from rookie right-hander Aleshia Ocasio, veteran Shelby Turnier and rookie southpaw Paige Lowary.

Ocasio delivered a three-inning performance in the circle to begin her professional career and allowed just one baserunner while striking out three. The former Florida standout settled for a no-decision in her NPF debut.

Turnier (2-0) continued to excel in a relief role and collected her second victory of the season after two innings of work out of the bullpen. The third-year right-hander maintained her spotless ERA, surrendering no runs on two hits.

Lowary, whom the Bandits selected No. 1 overall in the 2018 NPF Draft, closed out the win with a pair of innings. A 2017 national champion at Oklahoma, the Dallas Center, Iowa, product allowed a two-run home run to former Bandits catcher Taylah Tsitsikronis, but struck out five in an impressive debut.

Bandits left fielder Brenna Moss contributed a three-hit night, including her first home run since the 2015 campaign. The fourth-year pro from Fresno State launched a two-run shot into the right field bleachers in the second to put the game out of reach at 7-0. Moss finished 3-for-4 with two RBI and three runs scored to raise her average to .514 on the season.

The Bandits, winners of seven straight contests against the Spirit, will continue their three-game set against their Aussie opponents with a Father’s Day doubleheader beginning at 3:05 p.m. Sunday at Parkway Bank Sports Complex. Both games will be broadcast via NPFTV.

For more information about the Chicago Bandits or to purchase tickets to any remaining home game during the 2018 season, please visit chicagobandits.com or call the box office at 877-722-6348.

EXTRA INNINGS

— Attendance: 1,161

— Vaultz Lock it Up! Player of the Game: Kristyn Sandberg (1-for-1, GS, 4 RBI)

— Parkway Bank Sports Complex played host to four Olympians on the diamond at once as former U.S. standouts Dani Tyler, Stacey Nuveman Deniz (Bandits head coach) and Lauren Lappin (Bandits asst. coach) were joined by four-time Australian Olympian Mel Roche for ceremonial first pitches.

ABOUT CHICAGO BANDITS

Since 2005, the Chicago Bandits have been members of the National Pro Fast pitch 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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