Renada Davis of the Dallas Charge Photo By Jade Hewitt Courtesy of National Pro Fastpitch
Arlington, TX. - July 9, 2015 – After taking an early 1-0 lead over the Chicago Bandits Thursday night, the Charge fell behind the number one team in the league and could not recover, eventually falling 4-3. The Charge could not get the timely hit, stranding 10 runners on base. Though the Bandits left eight runners on, a two-out 3-run homerun by rookie Megan Blank, who was 2-for-3 on the night, was the critical blow in the top of the fourth. The Charge fell to 8-15 on the season and the league leading Bandits improved to 20-6.
The game’s storyline early was patient and bruised batters. There were eight walks total between the two teams, seven of them in the first four innings. Additionally, five hitters were plunked while in the box. Charge starter Morgan Melloh walked four and hit four in five innings of work. Bandits’ starter Kristen Verdun allowed five free passes in her four innings. Bandit reliever Lacey Waldrop hit a batter in her three innings in the circle.
In the bottom of the first, the tone was set. The Charge started things well getting runners to first and second with no outs. Two infield popups and a walk to recently named 2015 SEC Female Athlete of the Year, Lauren Haeger, loaded the bases. But the home team could not cash in, keeping the game scoreless.
In the third inning the Charge opened the scoring. Eri Yamada drew a lead-off and reached second after a Kylee Lahners’ sac bunt. Lauren Haeger collected the Charge’s first hit, fisting a pitch on the hands just over the Bandit shortstop, Tammy Williams, bringing home Yamada. Haeger later said that she was “simply excited to get the job done.”
The Bandits answered back. In the top of the fourth inning after catcher Kaylyn Castillo made a diving catch in foul territory to get the lead-off batter, Melloh hit Taylor Edwards. Danielle Zymkowitx followed with a single and Edwards hustled around to third. Iowa alum, Megan Blank then delivered the big hit of the night. She lifted a low inside 3-1 pitch just beyond the right field fence giving the road squad the lead for good.
The young Charge squad, continued the fight back lead by Renada Davis. Davis, who was 2-for-3 cut the Bandit lead to 3-2 with a double of the right centerfield fence scoring Taylor Thom who reached on a fielder’s choice.
In the fourth, Bandit leadoff hitter Emily Allard was hit by pitch. Amber Patton advanced her with a sac bunt, Tammy Williams promptly doubled to right field. The high pop was pushed back towards the infield by a strong southern wind. Angeline Quiocho who had made a long run to try to get to the ball could not make the play and ball fell just in fair territory. When the dust settled, the Bandits had runners at second and third. Next, Melloh bounced a ball in front of catcher Kaylyn Castillo that skidded back to the backstop, allowing the Bandits’ fourth run to come home.
In the bottom of six, the Charge drew closer. Davis hit a one out double to the wall in right centerfield. Yamada rolled a single just to the left of the shortstop, plating Davis and cutting the Bandit lead to one.
Haeger, who had come in relief in the sixth, kept the Bandits bats under control in her two innings, giving the Charge a chance in their last at bat. Waldrop was tough and sat the Charge down in order to close out the game and get the save.
Davis expects the team to walk away with a win when they face the Bandits again in game 2 of the series. “Our team gets better every single game. I can’t say enough about them. We have grown so much in the past month and we continue to get better. In the last series, we didn’t put a single run up against them [the Bandits] and tonight we got three.” Davis walked away from the game with two doubles, an RBI, and a run.
The Charge will host the Bandits on Friday evening at the Ballfields at Craig Ranch in McKinney, Texas with the first pitch set for 7 p.m.
The Dallas Charge will begin competition in the National Pro Fastpitch league in 2015. The Charge will provide elite softball players the opportunity to pursue a professional career and inspire the next generation of professionals. Located in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, the Charge organization and its players are committed to demonstrating leadership in community involvement, entertainment, and professionalism. Follow the Dallas Charge at www.dallascharge.com
National Pro Fastpitch is headquarted 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 name 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