Photo credit: Ryan Breiding, courtesy of National Pro Fastpitch
AVON, Ohio — The Chicago Bandits introduced Sprenger Stadium to professional softball Friday night and did so with a bang. Kristyn Sandberg, DJ Sanders and Stacy May-Johnson each delivered home runs in a 10-2 victory over the Cleveland Comets in Avon, Ohio.
Sandberg’s blast, a two-run shot in the opening frame, marked her ninth of the 2018 campaign. The veteran catcher staked Bandits starting pitcher Rachele Fico out to an early 2-0 lead, one she did not relinquish.
Fico (W, 6-2) continued to excel in the circle and tossed four shutout innings to secure her sixth win of the season. The former Akron Racers standout surrendered just a pair of hits and struck out six.
Fico received plenty of run support following Sandberg’s first-inning long ball. Sanders, who homered for the third consecutive game, uncorked a two-run shot in the second. May-Johnson added her second home run of the season with a three-run deep fly in the seventh to puts the Bandits in double figures.
Comets rookie right-hander Gretchen Aucoin suffered the loss and fell to 2-5 on the season.
Bandits left fielder and NPF Player of the Year candidate Brenna Moss swiped her 24th base of the season in the second inning, which placed her atop the franchise’s record book for stolen bases in a single season.
Right-hander Coley Ries and southpaw Haylie Wagner combined to close out the game in relief efforts of 1.1 and 1.2 innings, respectively.
The Bandits, winners of five straight ballgames, will continue their six-game stretch against the Comets on Saturday under the lights at Sprenger Stadium. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. and the game will be broadcast via Eleven Sports.
For more information about the Chicago Bandits or to purchase tickets to the upcoming NPF Championship Series between the Bandits and USSSA Pride, please visit chicagobandits.com or call the box office at 877-722-6348.
— Records: Chicago (33-9), Cleveland (10-33)
— Attendance: 775
— Vaultz Lock It Up! Player of the Game: Rachele Fico (W, 4.0 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 BB, 6 K)
— Brenna Moss’ 24 stolen bases also rank as the fourth-best total in a single season in the history of the NPF.
— The Bandits have won 10 consecutive games against the Comets.
ABOUT CHICAGO BANDITS
Since 2005, the Chicago Bandits have been members of the National Pro Fastpitch league. Entering their 14th season as a franchise, the Bandits have provided the Chicago area with high-level softball talent and entertainment en route to capturing six regular season titles and four Cowles Cup championships, the most recent coming during the 2016 campaign. Located in Rosemont, the Bandits play at Parkway Bank Sports Complex, one of the premier softball facilities in the nation. Parkway Bank Sports Complex is the only stadium in the country built exclusively for a women’s professional softball team. The Bandits provide an opportunity for female fastpitch softball players to further their careers at the professional level and have included legendary figures such as Jennie Finch, Tammy Williams and Stacy May-Johnson.