ELGIN, IL - Trailing 4-2 a down to it's final out, Chelsea Spencer hit a grand slam to center field and the Philadelphia Force took a 6-4 lead.
The Bandits had one more chance in it's half of the inning but Force pitcher Katie Burkhart got Chicago's batters out in order with two strikeouts and Philadelphia defeated the Chicago 6-4 Thursday night at the Judson Sports Complex in National Pro Fastpitch action.
"We had a chance to finish the game and we didn't finish it defensively or in the circle," Bandits head coach Mickey Dean said. "It's one game and we have to take something from this game, positive or negative."
Burkhart (6-2) gave up four hits with no walks and 11 strikeouts in the circle for the Force.
Megan Gibson smashed a home run of Jessica Sallinger to center field in the sixth to close the margin to 4-2. The Force (18-8) had one more chance to in the seventh inning and Kristen Miller started it off with a first pitch foul out. Emily Friedman singled, putting the tying run on the plate and with two outs before Sharonda McDonald worked a full count before blooping a single over the head of Aileen Morales. Kellie Wilkerson smashed the ball to Morales who couldn't flip it over to Stacy May in time at third base and the bases were loaded. Spencer came in and hit the game winning home run.
"We made a bunch of mistakes and it's frustrating and something you have to fight through," Sallinger (6-5) said, who pitched a complete game with seven hits and six strikeouts. "Whenever you lose you always want to come back and it is motivating for tomorrow."
Leading 2-1 in the fifth inning Chicago (14-12) used small ball to perfection to get some insurance runs. Mindy Cowles led off the inning with a single and Laura Harms bunted Cowles over. Pitcher Katie Burkhart threw to first to get Harms but the ball was low and skipped into the outfield. This left Harms and Cowles on second and third base, respectively. Morales bunted Cowles in and Stacy May did the same to score Harms, giving the Bandits a 4-1 lead.
Sallinger started the game by walking the Force's first two batters-Burnum and McDonald. Wilkerson singled to left field and Amanda Freed muffed the ball trying to field it which allowed Burnum to score from second and the Force led 1-0 with no outs. Philadelphia had two runners on, but Sallinger got out of the inning without any more damage.
Rachel Folden answered for the Bandits' half of the first inning and drove a home run-her seventh of the season-into the right center field bleachers with two outs to tie the game at 1-all.
The Bandits took a 2-1 lead in the third inning. Morales reached base on a fielder's choice and Amanda Freed drove her in with a double down the left field line that stormed past Philadelphia's third baseman Burnum and rolled into the outfield.
Chicago padded its lead in the fifth inning. Mindy Cowles led off the inning with a single and the Bandits used small ball to perfection. Laura Harms bunted Cowles over. Pitcher Katie Burkhart threw to first to get Harms but the ball was low and skipped into the outfield. This left Harms and Cowles on second and third base, respectively. Morales bunted Cowles in and Stacy May did the same to score Harms, giving the Bandits a 4-1 lead.
Notes: Thursday's game was broadcast live on Comcast SportsNet…In the seventh inning, Cowles fouled off a ball that hit her ankle, it was a small bruise and Cowles continued to play.
The Chicago Bandits and Philadelphia Force will resume play Friday at Judson University at 7:05 p.m. Tickets start at $10 and are available by calling 877-7BANDIT or visiting www.chicagobandits.com.