Rosemont, Ill. (August 16, 2019) – The USSSA Pride took the second game of the NPF Championship Series with a 5-4 victory over the Chicago Bandits on Friday.
The Pride jumped out to an early lead in the bottom of the first inning. Shelby Pendley started things off with a single. In the very next at-bat, Brittaney Cervantes hit a line drive home run over the center field fence, giving the Pride a 2-0 lead.
After a scoreless second inning, the Bandits came back to take the lead in the top of the third inning with a pair of home runs. National Pro Fastpitch Player of the Year Amanda Chidester hit the first home run with a bomb to center field that nearly landed on the highway beyond Parkway Bank Stadium. After Brenna Moss got on base with a single, Abbey Cheek hit a line drive home run to right field to put the Bandits up 3-2.
The Pride quickly responded in the bottom of the third inning. After Sydney Romero singled to start the inning, Megan Wiggins launched a double between the gap in right and center field. Near the conclusion of the play, the Bandits mistakenly did not call time out while meeting at the pitcher’s circle, giving Romero the opportunity to advance home and tie the game. Wiggins advanced to third base on the play and eventually scored on a wild pitch by Bandits pitcher Haylie Wagner to once again give the Pride the advantage. The Pride further added to their lead in the fourth inning when Romero drove in Kirsti Merritt with a single.
With Jailyn Ford in to get the save for the Pride, the Bandits were able to put together one last rally in the seventh inning. After Jessie Scroggins reached on an error, Amanda Chidester walked to put two runners on base. With two outs, Abbey Cheek got her third RBI of the game with a single to drive in Scroggins and cut the Pride lead to one run. Despite the momentum swinging towards the Bandits, Gwen Svekis flew out to centerfield to end the game and give the Pride a two game lead in the series.
Despite giving up two home runs, Pride pitcher Keilani Ricketts was solid in six innings pitched. Ricketts gave up five hits while striking out three batters. Aleshia Ocasio got the start for the Bandits and gave up four earned runs in two innings pitched. The Bandits got a standout contribution from Savannah Heebner, who pitched 2.1 innings in relief and allowed only two baserunners.
The Pride and Bandits will face each other again with the National Pro Fastpitch Championship on the line. Game 3 of the series will be played on Saturday, August 17th at 7:00 C.T. at Parkway Bank Sports Complex in Rosemont, Ill.
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.