ROSEMONT, Ill. (July 19, 2019)—Danielle O’Toole threw a complete four-hit shutout, leading the Bandits to a 1-0 victory to clinch a series win.
O’Toole and Peppers ace Kaia Parnaby were locked in a pitchers’ duel right from the outset. Before the Bandits broke through, the biggest scoring chance came in the Peppers’ half of the second. The visitors loaded the bases on a pair of two-out singles and an error, but Jessie Scroggins made a nice running catch on Leigh Godfrey’s drive in right field to keep the game scoreless.
“That play is a game-changing play that Scroggins made in right field,” Bandits Coach Lauren Lappin said. “I’m not sure that anyone else, other than Brenna [Moss], no one else on the field makes that play. That was a crucial point in the game.”
Chicago put a pair of runners on base in the third, but Parnaby got Moss to ground back to the circle to escape. O’Toole retired seven in a row and worked around a leadoff single in the sixth, setting the stage for the Bandits to crack the scoreboard.
Alyssa DiCarlo led off with a walk and Clifton pinch-ran for her at first. With one out, Moss hit a line drive that Parnaby knocked down, but she could only get the out at first and Clifton advanced to second. Chidester then singled into center, and Clifton beat the throw to the plate to give Chicago the lead.
“We faced a fantastic pitcher, one of the best in the world, in Parnaby,” Lappin said. “For us to figure out a way to scratch a run across on the board was huge. Chidester’s a leader for us, so for her to have a composed at-bat and drive a ball up the middle was awesome.”
O’Toole made sure the run stood up in the seventh, ending the game with her seventh strikeout of the night.
The Bandits improved to 8-0 in one-run games this season, which Lappin attributed to their strong pitching and defense.
“We’ve been playing great defense behind our pitchers, and our pitchers have been executing pitches with tight games on the line,” Lappin said. “We feel good about our chances no matter what, but if we have a one-run lead going into the last inning, we’re going to lock it down.”
Chicago will look to complete the series on Saturday evening, with first pitch scheduled for 7:35 p.m. CT at Parkway Bank Sports Complex.
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.
Recap credit: Benjamin Rosenberg
Picture credit: Sam Payton