ROSEMONT, IL - December 9, 2015 – The Chicago Bandits have agreed to terms on one-year contracts with outfielder Emily Allard and infielder Sammy Marshall for the 2016 season per team GM Aaron M. Moore.
Embarking on her third season with the team, Allard continued the success she found as a rookie into her sophomore year. A member of the 2014 All-NPF Team, her league leading 12 stolen bases earned her the Rally Spikes Award at the 2015 NPF Awards Banquet. In addition to her speed, Allard led the Bandits with 51 hits, while finishing third on the team in batting average (.323) and fourth overall in on-base percentage (.331), runs scored (17) and RBIs (15).
"I'm incredibly honored to return to Chicago for another season”, said Allard. “The family that Bill Sokolis and Aaron Moore have built within our organization over the years is one that I am humbled to be a part of. Women's professional softball is so close to breaking through; I'm truly grateful to be a part of this journey.
"Winning the 2015 Cowles Cup with my teammates was a highlight I will not soon forget, and I cannot wait to step back on the field in orange and black and do it again!"
During the offseason, Allard works to grow the sport of softball through her positions with the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), the Bandits front office and Be the Momentum, which holds slapping clinics across the country.
“Emily has quickly become one of the faces of the Bandits,” said Moore. “Not only is she known for what she does on the field, but our fans know and appreciate all she stands for off the field. She always puts the fans first after games and she’s definitely a favorite here.
“On the field, she’s hit over .300 in her first two seasons of professional ball, so she’s incredibly valuable. She doesn’t need to hit the ball far to be successful and when she gets on base, she proved last season that she’s a threat to take the next base. We’re excited to see what she does in 2016, especially with the addition of Jill (Barrett) to our lineup.”
Marshall, who was drafted 18th overall out of Western Illinois University in the 2015 NPF College Draft, brought additional speed to the Bandits lineup. The two-time Summit League Player of the Year finished her rookie season with 11 runs scored and stole six bases, which was good for fourth overall on the team.
A native of Naperville, Ill., Marshall is looking forward to another season with her hometown team. “I'm incredibly blessed to re-sign with the Bandits and represent my home city for another summer,” said Marshall. “My rookie season was the best summer of my life and it’s all because of the people I was constantly surrounded with. The summer of 2016 can't come soon enough!”
This offseason, Marshall is serving as the Bandits Player/Affiliate Coordinator, as well as the head coach for the Wheaton Academy softball team in Wheaton, Ill.
“Sammy came in last season and took on a special role on our way to the Cowles Cup,” said Moore.
“She was often asked to come in and change the tone by stealing a base or scoring on a close play at the plate.
“She is one of the fastest, if not the fastest player in the league, and she has an ability to make a huge difference for us. She’s going to get her opportunities this season to earn a spot in the lineup, and if she does, we truly believe she will take advantage of them. Sammy is a local player that is now working with the Bandits and coaching high school ball in the area; it’s definitely exciting to have her back for 2016.”
The defense of the Cowles Cup begins on Thursday, June 2 when the Bandits host the Scrap Yard Dawgs at the Ballpark at Rosemont for the 2016 home opener. Single-game tickets for all 2016 home games, including the home opener, will go on sale Monday, February 8 at 10 a.m.
About Chicago Bandits
Since 2005, the Chicago Bandits have been members of the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) league. Located in Rosemont, the Bandits provide an opportunity for female fastpitch players to further their careers at a professional level, and the roster has included such names as Jennie Finch, Stacy May-Johnson, Monica Abbott and Tammy Williams. The three-time NPF Champions, who are owned by Bill Sokolis, play at The Ballpark at Rosemont, the only stadium in the country built for a women's professional team. The 2016 season will be the Bandits 12th season in the NPF.
National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) is headquartered in Nashville, Tenn. The league, created to give elite female fastpitch players the opportunity to pursue a professional career in their chosen sport, has operated since 1997 under the names of Women’s Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Women’s Pro Softball League (WPSL). NPF is the Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball in the category of women’s fastpitch softball and has been since 2002.