ROSEMONT, Ill. — The Bandits continued to showcase their magic in one-run games, taking a pair of tight decisions from the Canadian Wild to sweep the six-game series. Chicago won the opener with a fifth-inning rally, and then took the nightcap as well on a walk-off wild. The Bandits improved to 14-3 on the season.
Game one: Bandits 4, Wild 3
The Bandits came out on top in this back-and-forth affair, scoring two runs in the bottom of the fifth to pull out the victory.
Abbey Cheek had another big game, going 2-for-3 with a walk and two RBI. She hit a game-tying single in the fifth to drive in Brenna Moss. Chicago took the lead later in the inning on an Emily Crane sacrifice fly.
The Bandits effectively split the game among four pitchers. Starter Aleshia Ocasio pitched into the third, allowing two runs on six hits before being relieved by Kelly Barnhill.
Meanwhile, the Bandits rallied in the third to tie the game. Moss and Jessie Scroggins each singled to start the inning. Cheek singled to right-center to score Moss, then Scroggins scored as the ball was bobbled in the outfield.
Barnhill allowed a run in the fifth on a Victoria Hayward triple and a Joey Lye single, at which point Savannah Heebner replaced her and escaped the inning with the Bandits trailing by just one.
The Bandits then rallied in their half to go up by a run. Heebner retired every batter she faced until a two-out single in the seventh to Hayward. Rachele Fico entered at that point and struck out Lye to end the game and earn the save.
Game two: Bandits 3, Wild 2
The two teams had already played extra innings twice in this series, but the Bandits made sure it would not happen a third time, as pinch-runner DJ Sanders crossed home plate on a wild pitch in the seventh to secure the win.
The Bandits once again utilized multiple pitchers, this time starting with Haylie Wagner before turning to Rachele Fico and eventually Danielle O’Toole. Wagner pitched into the fourth; she allowed her first walk of the season after 27.2 innings, and her first run since June 8 after a 26-plus inning scoreless streak.
Chicago struck first in the second inning after loading the bases with nobody out, and Katie Reed hit a sacrifice fly to center to drive in Kristyn Sandberg. The Bandits doubled their advantage an inning later, when Cheek and Sandberg both walked with one out and Courtney Gano singled to score Cheek.
The Wild threatened in the fifth, putting the first two runners on base, but Sandberg threw out Jenny Gilbert trying to steal third for a big first out. After a walk, O’Toole relieved Fico in the circle and got a big assist from Amanda Chidester, who caught a line drive and stepped on first to double off Jenn Salling for an inning-ending double play.
It was still a 2-1 game entering the seventh, but with two outs, Hayward singled in a run to tie the game and force the Bandits to bat again. With one out in the home seventh, the Bandits began to rally. They loaded the bases when Cheek and Sandberg singled and Alyssa DiCarlo was hit by a pitch.
With Nadia Taylor batting, Sara Plourde’s pitch went past her catcher, allowing Sanders to score the winning run. Chicago’s win was their eighth straight and they improved to 6-0 in one-run games.
The Bandits will be back in action Wednesday when they welcome in the Cleveland Comets to Parkway Bank Sports Complex for the opener of a five-game series. First pitch is set for 11 a.m. CT.
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.
About National Pro Fastpitch (NPF)
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 Peppers of Minnesota, Beijing Shougang Eagles, Canadian Wild of Southern Illinois, Chicago Bandits, Cleveland Comets, and USSSA Pride. National Pro Fastpitch players hail from the United States, Australia, Canada, China, and Mexico, and represent the most accomplished and talented athletes in the sport of women’s softball.