Written By: Adam Gierhart
The conclusion to the Chicago Bandits regular season was bitter-sweet Sunday afternoon. The Bandits found out before the 2:05 p.m. contest that with an Akron win over the USSSA Pride minutes before game time that they had clinched first place for the regular season. The joy around this news was short-lived, however, as the Diamonds (16-33) defeated the Bandits (30-20) 4-2 at Judson University in Elgin, Ill.
Sunday’s game also marked the end of an era for Bandits’ stars Jennie Finch and Stacy May who played their last home game in a Chicago Bandits uniform.
Finch (5-4) started the game for the Bandits, but only threw two innings in the pitchers circle, allowing two runs on four hits and four strikeouts. The Diamonds 2-0 lead was quickly taken away in the third as the Bandits rallied to put two runs across homeplate, stemming from a Diamonds error and Rachel Folden sacrifice fly.
After the third inning, however, Diamonds star pitcher Monica Abbott (7-9) came into the pitcher’s circle in relief of starter Kristin Erb (3-7) and shut down the Bandits offense with four innings of work, allowing only two hits, walking one and striking out five batters.
Heading into the final inning of play, tied 2-2, the Diamonds put two runners across homeplate, coming from a Jami Lobpries leadoff homerun and four straight walks from Bandits’ pitcher Eileen Canney (3-6), to put the Diamonds up for good, winning the contest 4-2.
The Bandits will be hitting the road for the final time in the 2010 campaign as they head down to Sulphur, La. for postseason play. The Bandits will be entering postseason play as the number one seed of the four-team tournament, where they will be facing off against the number four seeded Tennessee Diamonds.