Photo by Dina Kwit - Courtesy of National Pro Fastpitch (2014)
ROSEMONT, Ill. – May 25, 2014 - Following open tryouts, the Chicago Bandits took on the Indiana Slammers at the Ballpark at Rosemont in an exhibition game to kick off the 2014 season
In order to get a closer look at some at some of the tryout participants, Bandits coaches invited eight players to participate in the exhibition game as part of the Bandits roster including Alexandra Booker, Natalie Hernandez, Katie Nichols, Mandy Ogle, Clarissa Navarro, Sarah Purvis, Kirsten Verdun and Jenny Nelson. All were given the opportunity to play the field in their respective positions and bat during the game.
The Bandits took control of the game early breaking a scoreless tie in the bottom of the fourth when Alisa Goler hit an RBI single to make it 1-0. Brittany Cervantes added to the score with her RBI triple followed by a Danielle Zymkowitz RBI single that put the Bandits up by three.
In the next inning, Booker would make her mark in the game with a solo shot to the right field bleachers. Already up 4-0, Alisa Goler recorded her second RBI of the game while two more runs would score later in the inning as the Bandits ended the fifth inning up 7-0.
Bandit hopefuls, Booker and Nelson both had RBIs in the seventh to make it 9-0.
Due to the exhibition status of the game, the Bandits and Slammers played eight complete innings. Navarro hit a two out, two run RBI double before being thrown out at third to end the game but the Bandits completed the shutout with an 11-0 victory. Out of the eight girls that tried out and played in the exhibition game, Natalie Hernandez and Kristen Verdun made the Bandits roster for the season.
Natalie Hernandez, a shortstop from University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC), was also a member of the Slammers, before joining the Bandits. In her senior year, she was named to the 2014 All-Horizon League First Team. Hernandez watched the Bandits play throughout her college career and although she said tryouts were long and tiring, it was worth it. “I’ve always wanted to go further on in my softball career, so I’m really excited for the chance and opportunity to do that,” Hernandez said.
Kirsten Verdun, a lefty pitcher from DePaul, was the first pitcher in Blue Demon history to record 900-innings with 900-plus strikeouts and 100 or more wins. She holds her place in the DePaul record books standing first overall in starts, strikeouts looking and batters faced while she finished her career second overall in wins, strikeouts, innings pitched, appearances and complete games. Her 33 wins during her senior year in 2014 was good for third in the nation, earning her the title of Big East Pitcher of the Year
The 2014 home opener is set for Saturday, May 31 when the Bandits host the Akron Racers at The Ballpark at Rosemont. Single-game tickets for all 2014 home games, including the home opener and exhibition game are on sale now.
You can now keep up with the Bandits via your mobile phone. The first-ever Chicago Bandits mobile app is now available for download allowing you to take the Bandits with you wherever you go. Visit chicagobandits.outsidetheboxinc.co on your smartphone and gain access to the Bandits schedule, roster, even the ability to purchase tickets to upcoming games. The site is compatible with all smart phones. Download today and learn more about your favorite NPF team.
Since 2005, the Chicago Bandits have been members of the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) league. Located in Rosemont, the Bandits provide an opportunity for female fastpitch players to further their careers at a professional level, and the roster has included such names as Jennie Finch, Stacy May-Johnson and Monica Abbott. The two-time NPF Champions play at The Ballpark at Rosemont, the only stadium in the country built for a women's professional team. The 2014 season will be the Bandits 10th season in the NPF.
National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) is headquartered in Nashville, Tenn. 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 and has been since 2002.