Photo credit: Nick Monaghan, courtesy of National Pro Fastpitch
ROSEMONT (6/1) — After a transition from the Italian Softball League to National Pro Fastpitch, it’s safe to say Courtney Gano enjoyed her first few days in the Windy City. Gano delivered a 3-for-3 performance at the plate, including a pair of RBI, started at short and finished behind the plate as the Bandits cruised to a 10-0 win over the Cleveland Comets on Friday night at Parkway Bank Sports Complex.
Gano, who amassed a .540 clip at the plate across 18 starts with Softball Club Forlí in 2017, singled in the first, third and fourth, before adding a sacrifice fly in fifth, as the Bandits improved to 2-0 on the young season.
Gano’s offensive outpour, combined with a pair of RBI-triples off the bat of Emily Crane and a solid pitching effort spearheaded by Bandits newcomer Coley Ries, contributed to the win.
For the second straight night, the Bandits put the game away early, putting runs on the board in four of the first five frames. Left fielder Brenna Moss scored the game’s first run via an error, and center fielder Sammy Marshall crossed the plate via a passed ball.
With the Bandits on top by three, Crane uncorked a triple to the left-center gap to spark a four-run fourth and put the game out of reach, backed by Ries’ strong start in the circle.
Ries, who began her professional career with the Texas Charge, collected the win after tossing three shutout innings, surrendering just a pair of hits while striking out two.
Lacey Waldrop (3.0 IP) and Shelby Turnier (1.0 IP) combined to close the door for a second consecutive night.
Ping Fan took the loss for Cleveland (0-2) after allowing seven runs (three earned) across four innings of work.
The Bandits and Comets will be back in action for the third game of their four-game set at 7:35 p.m. Saturday at Parkway Bank Sports Complex.
— Vaultz Lock It Up! Player of the Game: Courtney Gano (3-for-3, 2 RBI, SF, R) — Attendance: 1,120
— The Bandits are 2-0 to start the season for a fourth consecutive campaign.
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.