ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Following yesterday’s postponement, the Force (2-7) and the Chicago Bandits (11-3) made up for it Friday evening at ECTB Stadium at Bicentennial Park. In total the Force and Bandits entertained nearly 3,000 fans in the first doubleheader of the season for the two rival squads.
In game one of the doubleheader, the two teams battled it out all the way into the ninth inning. Unfortunately, the Bandits escaped with the win following a two run homerun by Jennie Finch in the top of the ninth to put Chicago up 5-2. Finch then stepped into the circle to lead her team to the victory.
However prior to the ninth inning fireworks, the Force actually led throughout most of the afternoon. They initially put up one run in the bottom of the first inning, which was then followed up by their second run of the day in the fifth. Going into the seventh the Force maintained their 2-0 lead, until the Bandits were even the score at 2-2 following back-to-back home runs.
At the plate, the Force produced four hits, with Emily Friedman and DeAnn Justice each picking up RBI singles. For the Bandits, Samantha Findlay and Stacy May alongside Finch paced their team to the win. Findlay went 1-for-3 on the day with one run scored and one RBI. May also produced one hit, but managed to score twice. Tammy Williams led the afternoon as the only player to record multiple hits (2-for-4).
In the circle for Philadelphia at the start of the game was Jessica Sallinger. Sallinger went 6 1/3 innings and surrendered the two homers in the seventh. Katie Burkhart replaced her teammate in the top of the sixth and allowed three runs on two hits. Combined, Sallinger and Burkhart fanned a total of five Bandits hitters respectively.
Picking up the win in game one was Finch, who made a two inning appearance in which she did not surrender a run or a hit, while also striking out three. Eileen Canney earned the no-decision after her seven inning outing.
Moving into the nightcap, the Force jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom half of the fourth. Chicago responded right back with a two-run fifth inning. The Force answered right back in the bottom half to make it a 2-2 ball game.
With the score deadlocked at 2-2 going into the seventh, fans began to wonder if they were going to see their second extra inning contest of the day. Unfortunately, the thought did not last as the Bandits tacked on five unanswered runs in the top of the seventh to take a 7-2 lead.
Helping the Bandits to their seventh inning victory was a slew of players including Findlay, Finch, and Kristie Fox. The trio combined for six of the teams 11 hits. Findlay along with Rachel Folden each had two RBI’s in the nightcap as well.
For the Force, Friedman and Justice each had two hits in their four at-bats. Earning the start in the circle was newcomer Kristin Erb. The Lock Haven standout threw six complete innings and allowed five runs on eight hits. Samantha Yodowitz filled in for Erb in the seventh, and surrendered two runs on three hits. Erb led the team with four strikeouts.
The Bandits defense was paced by Brandice Balschmiter. In four innings Balschmiter recorded a game-high five strikeouts, and allowed just one run on three hits.
The Force will the face the Bandits for the final time this season tomorrow evening at Hoffman Park in York, Pa. Game time is set for 7:05 p.m. EST.