Tension was through the roof as the USSSA Pride completed a sweep of the Chicago Bandits Sunday night with a 7-4 victory at the ESPN Wide World of Sports. Both teams saw multiple players and coaches ejected for hitting batters. Per the rule book, when a umpire rules that a batter was hit intentionally the pitcher, catcher, and head coach are ejected from the game.
The Bandits (16-16) took a 2-0 lead early in the first after Caitlin Lowe committed an error, allowing both Tammy Williams and Megan Wiggins to score. Amber Patton scored on another error, giving the Bandits a 3-0 lead.
The Pride (20-11) battled back in the bottom of the first and captialized on the same kinds of fielding problems that they had just experienced. Natasha Watley reached first on an error by Bandits second baseman Vicky Galindo. Caitlin Lowe singled and Jessica Mendoza hit a sacrifice fly, putting both Watley and Lowe in scoring position. Kristyn Sandberg singled, bringing both runners in and closing the Bandits lead to one run. Mendoza tied the game with a two-out homerun in the bottom of the third.
Things heated up when Lauren Lappin doubled in the bottom of the fourth inning to bring in Kelsey Bruder, giving the Pride the lead, 4-3. Lappin would score on the next play on a RBI single from Watley. The Bandits all but fell apart after that, replacing pitcher Nikki Nemitz with Chandra Bell, who immediately allowed Watley to reach second on a wild pitch. Bell then walked Lowe, Mendoza reached first and Watley scored on another error by the Bandits.
The Bandits frustration with the inning reached a peak when Sandberg was hit by a pitch from Bell. Both Bell and catcher Shannon Doepking were then ejected from the game, and, after arguing with the umpire, the Bandits coach was also ejected.
Michelle Moses came in to pitch for the Bandits and walked Kelly Kretschman, which brought in Lowe to make the score 7-3 Pride at the end of the fourth.
Things between the two teams seemed to have calmed down through the fifth inning, but heated back up in the top of the sixth when Pride pitcher Brittany Mack hit Megan Wiggins. Mack and Sandberg were ejected, along with Pride coach Beth Torina.
Cat Osterman came in to pitch for the Pride and allowed an RBI single by Alisa Goler to bring the score to 7-4.
Mack (5-3) was awarded the win, allowing nine hits and four runs with eight strikeouts. Nemitz (5-7) allowed seven hits, six runs and struck out two in the loss.
The Pride will face the Akron Racers starting on Thursday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports.
About National Pro Fastpitch:
National Pro Fastpitch is headquartered in Nashville, TN. The league, created to give elite female fastpitch players the opportunity to pursue a professional career in their chosen sport, has operated since 1997 under the names of Women’s Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Women’s Pro Softball League (WPSL). NPF is the Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball in the category of women’s fastpitch softball since 2002. www.profastpitch.com