Monica Abbott of Chicago Bandits Photo By Dina Kwit Courtesy of National Pro Fastpitch
ROSEMONT, Ill – July 23, 2015 - Monica Abbott can add another milestone accomplishment to her already impressive resume following today’s 10-0 shutout of the Dallas Charge after pitching a perfect game for the second time in a Bandits uniform.
Abbott has been inching towards a perfect game all season. Three times this year, she’s thrown complete game shutouts while allowing just two hits or less.
“I don’t really keep track of (perfect games and no-hitters),” Abbott said. “Today, I got a lot of support, defensively and offensively, so it was a good day all around.”
It was evident from early on that Abbott was on pace to do something special in front of a season-high crowd of 1,502. She struck out the side in the first inning and no Charge batter made solid contact against her until a deep fly to right in the fifth inning. Abbott gave credit to her battery mate, Taylor Edwards, for calling a terrific game behind the plate.
“Today is a special day because it was me and Taylor’s (Edwards) first perfect game together, so we’re pretty excited about that.
After a scoreless top half of the first, Abbott was able to settle in for a stellar performance after the Bandits jumped all over Charge starter Vanessa Stokes in the bottom half of the frame. The Bandits tacked Stokes for four runs in the opening inning and that was more than enough support for Abbott.
Megan Blank (3-for-3, RBI, 3 R) opened up scoring with a RBI-infield single, which was followed by a two-RBI double on the next pitch by Edwards (1-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI), extending the lead to 3-0. A wild pitch allowed another run to cross the plate, pushing the Bandits advantage to four.
“That early offense is what helps a pitcher get comfortable out there,” newly acquired Kailee Cuico said. Cuico (1-for-2, HR, 2 RBI), who was picked up by the Bandits after being released by the Akron Racers, smacked her first home run in a Bandits uniform later in the game. Taking the spotlight off herself, Cuico said with a chuckle that she is just glad to not have to face Abbott again, now that they are on the same team.
“The girls are great,” Cuico said. “The (Battle of the Sexes) game yesterday helped me get comfortable around the team during a game environment.”
Brenna Moss (1-for-3, HR, 2 RBI) also belted the first home run of her professional career, a two-run shot that just cleared the fence in right. That made the score 10-0, but the game was long out of reach with Abbott’s dominance in the circle.
“We talked a lot about how we’re going on this last stretch before playoffs and needing to start it off and get some momentum,” Abbott said. “We need to make a big push to have control of our own destiny.”
The Bandits are neck-and-neck with the USSSA Pride for the top spot in the NPF this season, with a margin of just 1.5 games separating the two rivals. Following this three-game series against the Charge, the Bandits will play four straight against the Pride, which should be telling for the playoff picture as the season winds down.
For now, though, the next game is out of the spotlight. All of the focus is on Abbott, who etched her name in the record books once again today.
As she was getting ready to leave the field to sign autographs, Abbott glanced to Edwards over in the dugout, grinned, and said, “We’re looking forward to the next one.”
Both teams return to action tomorrow for Cancer Awareness Night at the Ballpark. The Bandits will sport special Cancer Awareness jerseys which will be auctioned off via a silent auction with the proceeds benefitting various cancer organizations including Be the Match, National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, A Silver Lining Foundation, CCare Lynch Syndrome and the American Liver Foundation. First pitch is scheduled for 7:35 p.m.
Tickets for tomorrow night and all remaining home games for the 2015 season are available now at www.chicagobandits.com or by calling the box office at 877-722-6348.
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.