Bandits third baseman Stacy May wasted no time making a statement against Rockford’sundefeated pitcher Cat Osterman, blasting just the third pitch of the game from Osterman deep to centerfield for the solo homerun to give the Bandits a 1-0 lead with no outs in the bottom of the first.
Chicago (26-12) would hold on to the one run lead behind light’s out two-hit pitching from Kristina Thorson (7-6), taking down Cat Osterman (11-1) and the Thunder 1-0. The loss is the first loss of the season for Osterman, but the victory clinched the first place bid for the Chicago Bandits in next week’s National Pro Fastpitch playoffs.
In the top of the second, the Thunder threatened the Bandits lead with the bases loaded and no outs on the board. The Bandits and pitcher Kristina Thorson held tight in the field to get three straight outs to end the inning with no runs allowed.
After Stacy May reached first base by blasting a single off the bag at third base and into the umpire, her pinch runner Ashley Carlson stole second base to put a runner in scoring position for Amber Patton. With two outs and Carlson now on third, Rockford’s Cat Osterman buckled down to strike out Samantha Findlay to end the bottom of the third threat.
The Bandits managed two more runners on in the bottom of the fourth against Osterman when Kristie Fox (hit by pitch) and Tammy Williams (bunt for single) reached safely with two down. Osterman got it together in the circle however, getting Nicole Trimboli to ground out to first for the final out of the inning.
With Amber Patton on first, Chicago’s Findlay blasted the 1-1 Osterman pitch deep to left field for a ground rule double, moving Patton to third on the play. The runners would stay put however, as Osterman stranded two more runners to end the inning.
Rockford made things interesting in the top of the seventh when Diller smacked a grounder to the left side for a single. Two batters later and with two on now, Chicago’s Jennie Finch (in to close for Thorson) faced off with Rockford’s Lyndsay Wagner.
Finch held tight, striking out Wagner to win the game and earn her second save of the season – and a first place bid for the NPF playoffs.