Tammy Williams Photo By Dina Kwit Courtesy of National Pro Fastpitch
ROSEMONT, Ill. – July 2, 2015 – After taking two of the first three games in the series, the USSSA Pride turned to ace Cat Osterman on short rest, trying to claim a series victory. Osterman pitched well, allowing just two runs on five hits. However, Michelle Gascoigne was just a bit better, tossing a complete game, two-hit shutout to help the Bandits earn a series split. Gascoigne earned her third win of the season by going the distance in a 2-0 Bandits victory.
“I think we came out after losing those first two games knowing that we had to play better softball,” Tammy Williams, who had the eventual game-winning RBI, said. “I think the Pride are a great team and we weren’t showing up how we needed to (in the first two games).”
In the opening inning, the Bandits got on the board in a hurry. Infield singles by Emily Allard (1-for-3, R, SB) and Amber Patton (1-for-3, SB) put runners on the corners and Williams (1-for-1, RBI, HBP) delivered a sacrifice fly to right-center to score the first run of the game. Williams said that getting to Osterman early was critical.
“It was huge,” Williams said. “Allard set the tone by getting that infield hit and it really just gave us the momentum we needed. Anytime we score a run in the first inning off Cat (Osterman), it’s going to be a good day.”
Osterman and Gascoigne matched one another pitch-for-pitch the rest of the way, until an RBI-single courtesy of Taylor Edwards (1-for-3, RBI) in the sixth inning gave the Bandits an insurance run. Even through the middle part of the game when Osterman retired seven consecutive batters, Williams said the Bandits’ approach at the plate remained the same.
“I think we really have worked on being aggressive and fighting through every pitch,” Williams said.
Gascoigne returned for the seventh and polished off a magnificent performance by retiring the Pride in order. A.J. Andrews provided an assist with a sensational full-extension grab in right-center for the second out of the inning. Gascoigne fanned Kelly Kretschman for the final out, her seventh strikeout of the ballgame.
With the win, the Bandits improved to an NPF-best 15-6 on the season, including a 7-3 mark at The Ballpark at Rosemont. The Pride fell to 10-6 as Osterman was handed her second loss of the season.
The Bandits will have the Fourth of July holiday off before continuing their home stand with a three-game set beginning Sunday, June 5 against the Pennsylvania Rebellion (5-13). First pitch for the series opener is set for 3:05 p.m. CT.
“I think we’re going to enjoy the Fourth of July and then come back and get ready to take care of business on Sunday,” Williams said.
Tickets for the series opener against the Rebellion and all remaining home games of the 2015 season are on sale now. Visit chicagobandits.com or call the box office at 877-722-6348 to order.
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.