ELGIN, IL.- With the game tied at 2-2 and the bases loaded with Rachel Folden up to bat, Folden didn't need to hit a grand slam. A simple base hit would have done its justice. Three consecutive one-run wins would have been fine. But Folden wanted to get the crowd excited and did just that.
Folden smashed an Eileen Canney pitch onto a puddle on top of a storage box and after creating a huge splash the Chicago Bandits (27-16) had defeated the New England Riptide 6-2 Sunday afternoon at the Judson Sports Complex in National Pro Fastpitch play.
Trailing 2-1 in the seventh inning, Mindy Cowles and Laura Harms singled with one out. With two outs, Stacy May jammed a single into center field and Cowles scored to tie the game at 2-2. Kristie Fox walked to load the bases when Folden came to bat.
"It's a big feeling of redemption, I felt I hadn't played very well and my teams picked me up, it was a huge confidence boost," Folden said. "We're a very good team and we felt we got lucky that last three games."
The Bandits began to unravel in the third inning. Cari Martin singled and after stealing second and advancing to third on a grounder, opened the scoring and gave the Riptide (19-24) a 1-0 lead. A Tracie Adix pitch escaped Rachel Folden's glove and Martin scored. After doubling, Lisa Modglin scored on an error off a Jessica Merchant grounder and New England went up 2-0.
Chicago got one run back in its half of the third after Stacy May walked. Rachel Folden roped a line drive that banged off the left field wall and May scored easily. Folden was picked off trying to go to second.
"Our pitchers kept the game close," Folden said. "It was a team win and we picked each other up. We want the number one seed and if we can get it we'll go from there."
Tracie Adix went three innings for the Bandits and allowed three hits, two earned runs and a walk. Amanda Freed came in to pitch to start the fourth inning. Freed pitched three scoreless innings before Kristina Thorson (10-5) came in to pitch the seventh and didn't allow a hit in the inning.
Canney (11-10) pitched a complete game for New England and allowed 10 hits, six runs and had five strikeouts."
The Chicago Bandits are in its fourth season in the National Pro Fastpitch women's professional softball league and have qualified for the playoffs three times. Established in 2005, the Bandits moved to Elgin, IL in 2008 and play at Judson University. Chicago features US Olympians Jennie Finch and Vicky Galindo and won the NPF Regular Season Championship in 2005 and 2006. Season tickets, group tickets and individual tickets are available and start at $10. For more information call 877-7BANDIT or visit www.chicagobandits.com.