Michelle Gascoigne Photo by Dina Kwit Courtesy of National Pro Fastpitch
ROSEMONT, Ill. – June 6, 2015 - For the second consecutive game, the Bandits fought back from a late deficit, however, they could not complete the job, falling to the Akron Racers by a score of 8-4 in extra innings. It marked the first loss of the year for the Bandits, who entered the game having won their first five contests of the 2015 season.
In the ninth inning, Racers right fielder Jen Gilbert (1-for-5, HR) launched a no-doubter to the right field bleachers off Tatum Edwards (L, 2-1) to give Akron the lead. After being replaced following a shaky 2.1 innings in the circle to start the game, Edwards re-entered in the ninth, but her struggles continued. She was tacked for her first loss of the season and walked eight batters total.
“(Edwards) is going to do well,” Gascoigne said. “We’re all still getting back into it. We just need to cut down on the walks. Once we do that, I think we’re going to do a lot better as a staff.”
After working a clean first inning, Edwards ran into some trouble in the second. Haley Outon (1-for-3, 2B, R, 2 BB) drew a one-out walk for Akron and later came around to score on a single from Kelley Montalvo (3-for-4, 2B, 4 RBI).
With Edwards struggling, the Bandits turned to Michelle Gascoigne, who pitched well in relief. The third-year pitcher from Oklahoma surrendered just two runs in 5.2 innings, fanning six batters. After the Racers pulled ahead 3-0, the Bandits began mounting their comeback. Natalie Hernandez (1-for-3, 2B, RBI) smacked an RBI-double to left-center, the first hit of the ballgame for the Bandits. A sacrifice fly from Danielle Zymkowitz (1-for-3, RBI) and an RBI on a chopper from Emily Allard (3-for-5, 2 RBI) tied the game in the fifth. The score remained 3-3 until the ninth, when the Racers struck for five runs, four of which were credited to Edwards. Gascoigne said that the team decided to take the safe route with her arm this early in the season.
“We just didn’t want to push it too much tonight,” Gascoigne said. “I wish I could have gone the distance for us, but we’re thinking long term here.”
Trailing 8-3, the Bandits made one final rally to try and extend the game. Allard came through with another RBI-single on a chopper to third, but it was not enough and the Racers managed to stave off a series sweep for the Bandits.
“I think it says a lot that in the bottom of the ninth we came back and put a run up on the board even after (Akron) put up a five-spot,” Gascoigne said. “This team is full of fight and we have so many ways that we can score.”
The Bandits will hit the road for their next series, a three-game set against the Pennsylvania Rebellion beginning Monday, June 8 at 6:00 p.m. CST. The Bandits swept the Rebellion in their first series of the 2015 NPF season.
Tickets for all 2015 Bandits games are on sale now. For more information about the Chicago Bandits, or to purchase tickets, visit www.chicagobandits.com.
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 Tammy Williams. The two-time NPF Champions, who are owned by Bill Sokolis, play at The Ballpark at Rosemont, the only stadium in the country built for a women's professional team. The 2015 season will be the Bandits 11th 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.