VIERA, Fla. — Haylie Wagner and Aleshia Ocasio combined to allow a single run, but a sacrifice fly proved to be the difference in a 1-0 ballgame Wednesday night at Space Coast Stadium in Viera, Florida.
Kelly Kretshman sent a long fly ball to deep center, which was tracked down by Bandits fourth-year pro Sammy Marshall with a leaping grab over the fence in another highlight reel play. Marshall’s leaping snag in Monday night’s series opener to rob USSSA’s Kirsti Merritt of a home run earned the No. 2 slot on SportsCenter’s “Top 10 Plays” of the night.
However, despite Marshall’s heroics with the glove, Kretschman’s fly allowed Megan Wiggins to race home for the game’s lone run in the opening frame.
Wagner suffered her first loss of the season after surrendering one run on two hits in 1.2 innings of work. The southpaw gave way to rookie right-hander Aleshia Ocasio in the second and the former Florida two-way star delivered an impressive performance out of the bullpen to keep the Bandits within striking distance.
Ocasio, who also recorded a single on the offensive end, steadied the ship by tossing 4.1 innings in relief. She allowed just one hit and struck out four.
The Bandits (18-3), however, could not back up the pitching performance at the plate, and mustered two hits against the Pride trio of Kelsey Nunley, Jessica Burroughs and Jailyn Ford.
First-year shortstop Delaney Spaulding’s single up the middle to lead off the third represented the only other base hit for the Bandits.
The Pride (16-0) staff fanned seven batters throughout the game, including four by Ford, who earned Vaultz Lock It Up! Player of the Game honors and her first save of the season.
Burroughs collected the victory and improved to 5-0.
The Bandits suffered a three-game sweep with the loss. All three games in the series were decided by less than two runs. The two teams will continue to get to know each other with a three-game continuance of their season series Friday through Sunday at Parkway Bank Sports Complex. First pitch in the series opener is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday.
For more information about the Chicago Bandits or to purchase tickets to any remaining home game during the 2018 season, please visit chicagobandits.com or call the box office at 877-722-6348.
— Vaultz Lock It Up! Player of the Game: Jailyn Ford (SV, 2.0 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 4 K)
— The start of tonight’s game endured a one-hour delay because of lightning.
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 has included legendary figures such as Jennie Finch, Tammy Williams and Stacy May-Johnson.
National Pro Fastpitch (NPF), an Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball since 2004 provides elite female athletes with an opportunity to pursue a professional career in fastpitch softball beyond their collegiate and amateur success. The NPF affiliate teams consist of the Aussie Spirit, Beijing Shougang Eagles, Chicago Bandits, Cleveland Comets and USSSA Florida Pride for the 2018 season. National Pro Fastpitch players hail from the United States, Australia, Canada and China among which are the most accomplished and talented athletes in the sport of women’s softball.