ROSEMONT, Ill. — Shelby Pendley delivered a two-run home run in to erase a late deficit, and the USSSA Pride took Game 1 of a best-of-five Championship Series against the Chicago Bandits by a score of 3-2 Thursday night at Parkway Bank Sports Complex in Rosemont, Illinois.
Pendley, whose deep fly came in the fifth inning with the Pride facing a one-run deficit at the time, provided the final blow against Bandits southpaw Danielle O’Toole.
O’Toole suffered a difficult loss in a relief effort after the former Arizona standout wiggled out of jams in the third and fourth frames before she surrendered the blast to Pendley.
Meanwhile, USSSA’s Jolene Henderson solidified her reputation as one of the top arms in the NPF. The 2018 Pitcher of the Year delivered a complete game to earn her first victory of the postseason and Vaultz Lock It Up! Player of the Game honors. She scattered just four hits and allowed two runs, both of which came off the bat of Chicago’s Jessie Scroggins.
Scroggins, who earned the league’s Rookie of the Year Award at Wednesday night’s awards banquet, supplied a spotless 3-for-3 effort at the plate to mark her Championship Series debut. The former Baylor standout tied the game with an RBI infield single in the third before she briefly gave the Bandits the lead with an RBI single through the left side in the fifth.
Veteran left fielder and All-NPF selection Megan Wiggins added a solo shot for the Pride as part of her two-her night.
Bandits starter Rachele Fico surrendered the game’s first run via Wiggins’ towering shot to right, but did not factor into the decision. The right-hander tossed the first 2.1 innings and allowed a single run.
The Bandits and Pride will take the field for Game 2 of the Championship Series on Friday night at Parkway Bank Sports Complex. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. and the game will be broadcast via ESPN+.
For more information about National Pro Fastpitch or to purchase tickets to the best-of-five Championship Series, please visit profastpitch.com or call the box office at 877-722-6348.
Vaultz Lock It Up! Player of the Game: Jolene Henderson (W, CG, 2 R, 4 H, 3 BB, 4 K)
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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.
Photo credit: Dina Kwit, courtesy of National Pro Fastpitch