Lisle, Ill -- The Chicago Bandits saved the best for last on Thursday nights game against the Canada Elite Team. As the top ranked team in the National Pro Fastpitch league, the Bandits shutout the opposing team 3-0.
The Bandits introduced their offense with the first base runner of the game when Anne Steffan walked to first. Next up, Liz Bouck strategically laid down a bunt to sacrificing herself to advance speedy Steffan to third. Unfortunately for the Bandits, two more outs followed.
Lindsay Wightman was the first Canadian on base when she drove the ball up the middle with a single in the top of the third inning.
Just as the Bandits had done early, they left Steffan on third base but also Bouck at second base in the third inning. Steffan reached first on an error by Canadian third baseman Lindsay Wightman.
After Bouck whipped the bat around and the third strike passed Canadian catcher Tamra Howren, she raced to first base and beat out the catchers throw. Steffan capitalized on the situation and made it all the way to third.
The Canadian Elite Team put the pressure on Chicago when Bandits in the fifth inning when pitcher Amy Harre walked Laura Shurr to first. Wightman preoccupied the Bandit fielders when she laid down a sacrifice bunt to bring Shurr to second base.
Kelly Zielstra came in for one at bat for Canada for a walk while Shurr stole third base. Despite the tension Canada created for their opponents with runners on first and third, the Bandits quickly ended Canadas hopes when Steffan caught a fly ball in left field to bring the Bandits in to bat.
Bandits Lauren Bay came into relief in the sixth inning to pitch against her own countrys elite team. Bay was a member of the 2004 Olympic Canadian Team. Out of the five batters she faced, Bay struck out three without walking anyone.
After the Bandits failed to produce any base runners with two three-up/three-down innings, Steffan started up a movement for Chicago with a single.
Canadas shortstop Meghan Timpf sprinted into foul territory to make an incredible diving catch to send Bouck back to the dugout.
Steffan stole her second base of the night and finally made it all the way home when Gina Oaks ripped one up the middle.
Designated player MacKenzie Vandergeest is the newest addition to the Bandits as she joined the team last series in Akron, but made her debut at home in Lisle this game. Vandergeest hit the ball to first to send Oaks over to second.
Leading the team in hits this game, Bandits catcher Selena Collins had her second single which launched Oaks all the way home for the second run.
Continuing the momentum, Christina Enea drove the ball to rightfield to score the final run of the night, giving the Bandits the 3-0 win.
While Amy Harre did not give up any runs, struck out five and walked two, Bay earned her eighth win of the season. Team Canadas pitcher Robin Mackin struck out six and walked only one.
At Friday nights game, 2005 MLB National League All-Star Jason Bay of the Pittsburg Pirates will throw out the ceremonial first pitch while his sister, Lauren Bay, will start off the game in the circle for the Chicago Bandits.
For more information check out ChicagoBandits.com. Tickets can be purchased through any Ticketmaster location or by calling 1-877-7BANDIT.