Tammy Williams of the Chicago Bandits Photo By Dina Kwit Courtesy of National Pro Fastpitch
ROSEMONT, Ill- July 25, 2015 - Game three of the series between the Dallas Charge and the Chicago Bandits was a polar opposite from the first two games on Thursday and Friday. Kirsten Verdun of the Bandits faced off against Morgan Melloh for the Charge in a pitchers duel that needed extras to settle it.
“I think probably both teams were tired of being slaughtered by the other,” Emily Allard said of the third game. “So I actually expected this game to be rather close.”
Verdun pitched 6.1 shutout innings with four hits allowed and three strikeouts. Melloh matched that dominance with seven innings of one hit ball until the bottom of the eighth when she gave up the game winning hit.
Both teams needed key defensive plays to keep runs off the board. Danielle Henderson made a sliding catch in foul territory to end the third and Brianna Cherry robbed Megan Blank of a hit in right field with a diving catch in the fourth. Tammy Williams initiated two 6-4-3 double plays in the fourth and fifth with Danielle Zymkowitz and Blank.
Monica Abbott came on in relief in the seventh for Verdun with one out and Eri Yamada on second to win the game and improve her record to 9-1 on the season.
“I thought our pitching today was incredible,” Allard said. “V kept us in the game for as long as she could. Even in that last inning I still had faith in her but I loved the call in bringing in Monie and she shut it down.”
Yamada started the inning with a single and advanced to scoring position via a Lauren Haeger sacrifice bunt. Abbott forced both Kaylyn Castillo and Kaitlyn Richardson to groundout to end the top half of the inning and struck out the side in the eighth to continue the game.
Kailee Cuico drew a walk to start the bottom of the eighth and advanced to second on a groundout by Zymkowitz. Allard benefited from a dropped foul ball miscommunication play between Henderson and Castillo to the left of home plate to earn a second life and a rejuvenated at bat.
“I was 0 for 3 to start that and instead of going into the box defeated I really tried to focus on what my adjustment was,” Allard said. “I got really, really big on that one swing and that was what I was trying to fix. So when she dropped it, it kind of just smacked me in the head and in my mind I was like you don’t want to give me a second chance.”
Two pitches later Allard hit the game winning RBI to left center to score Sammy Marshall who pinch ran for Cuico earning the Bandits a series victory. Allard rounded first and made a complete 360 before second to meet her teammates in celebration.
“The mob is a thousand times better then the hit and I am a firm believer in that,” Allard said. “I turned around so fast because I didn’t want to be by myself anymore.”
The Bandits face the USSSA Pride in a split four-game home and home series starting Monday at The Ballpark at Rosemont.
Tickets for Monday night's game and all remaining games for the 2015 season are on sale 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.