Elgin - A nine run explosion in the first inning was all the Bandits would need to seal the Diamonds fate. Bandits’ third baseman Stacy May started the scoring spree with a double off a full count. Bandits’ shortstop Vicky Galindo, who just returned from Venezuela with Team USA also doubled into leftfield scoring May for the first run of the game. Six batters later with the bases loaded Ashley Holcombe stepped up to the plate to blast a grand slam on the second pitch.—it was her first grand slam ever and her first home run in National Pro Fastpitch. The Bandits would score two more runs to end the inning.
“I was seeing the ball well and I hit it and I was like, “go go,” said Holcome. “It was really exciting I’ve never hit a grand slam ever and it was my first home run in the NPF. It gave me a good jump start to get back in the swing of things.”
Although the Bandits would tack on another run in the third inning it was the first inning that won the game for them.
“[The first inning] was huge,” said Bandits’ assistant coach, Mike Steuerwald. “We talked about that all series long against this team--jump out early--and in the first couple games we didn’t.”
Tennessee responded in the top of the second with two runs of their own, but it wouldn’t be enough. Second baseman Chelsie Mesa doubled to start the inning. Four batters later with runners on first and second Diamonds right fielder, Jenna Rhodes, ripped a triple for her second hit of the game, scoring two Diamonds’ players.
The Diamond would add one more run in the third and fourth innings, but despite recording 12 hits to the Diamonds just couldn’t convert in part because of Bandits’ pitcher, Nikki Nemitz, who held strong, striking out five and preserving the Bandits’ 10-4 win.
With the loss the Diamonds stay in fourth in the NPF standings with a 2-14 record. The Bandits improve to 9-7 and are now only 1.5 game behind the Akron Racers and the USSSA Pride for first place in the NPF Standings.
The Bandits next home game will be against Akron Racers, who they dropped five of seven games to in their last two series.
"We just need to come out and play our game," said Holcombe. "I think we just need to stick to our game plan, come out with a little grit and just get after it." The game will take place at 7:05 p.m. on Thursday, July 8 at Judson University in Elgin, Ill.
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