Emily Allard of the Chicago Bandits Photo By Dina Kwit Courtesy of National Pro Fastpitch
ROSEMONT, Ill. – August 4, 2015 - Tuesday night, Nerissa Meyers proved why she is one of the most dangerous hitters in the NPF, smacking a solo home run in the first inning and a two-RBI double in the fourth to help lead the Akron Racers to a 4-2 victory against the Bandits. Meyers collected two hits and drove in three runs in the game as the Racers evened up the series and forced a rubber match tomorrow night.
“I think (Meyers) is aggressive (at the plate),” Bandits center fielder Emily Allard said. “When an opportunity arises, she takes advantage of it. Hats off to her today. She got the job done when she needed to.”
After gaining some early run support, Racers starter Rachele Fico, who entered the game with a 4.72 ERA, settled in for a solid outing. The third-year pro from LSU put up scoreless frames in each of the first three innings before RBI-singles by Tammy Williams (1-for-3, RBI, R) and Emily Allard (2-for-3, RBI) got the Bandits on the board in the fourth.
Courtesy of Williams and Allard’s timely hitting, the Bandits cut the deficit to just two runs, but were unable to complete the comeback as Fico and Sarah Pauly put up zeros the rest of the way. Allard said that Fico was able to keep the Bandits offense in check with a quality mix of pitches but that the Bandits needed to take better swings, especially when facing a pitcher for the first time this season.
“It’s natural to take a few bad swings (against a pitcher you are seeing for the first time),” Allard said. “As a team, in general, we came out a bit slow tonight.”
Ahead by two, Akron turned to their ace, Pauly, in the circle in the sixth to nail down a two-inning save. The veteran pitcher shut down the Bandits in order in the sixth and survived a scare in the seventh to secure the win for Akron. Allard and Brenna Moss (1-for-3) each had singles to bring the potential winning run to the plate, but Pauly struck out Brittany Cervantes and Amber Patton to end it.
“Sometimes the ball doesn’t fall your way and I think we didn’t come through in the clutch when we needed to today,” Allard said. “We just need to take away what we can from tonight and make some adjustments.”
The Bandits and Racers will meet for the final time in the regular season tomorrow at 7:05 p.m. CT with the Bandits holding a 7-4 edge in the season series. Tomorrow night’s game is the regular season finale at The Ballpark at Rosemont and the Bandits will be hosting a fan appreciation night. Kids will have the opportunity to run the bases following the conclusion of the game and there will be a full-team autograph session.
“We’re nothing without our fans so I’m really looking forward to tomorrow night,” Allard said. “We’re going to put on a good show for them. We wouldn’t have this stadium or these facilities (without the fans). The vibe that they create for us is second to none.”
Tickets for tomorrow night’s regular season finale are still available and can be purchased by visiting www.chicagobandits.com or by calling the box office at 877-722-6348.
NEXT BANDITS GAME: Wednesday, August 5 vs. Akron Racers at 7:05 p.m. CT @ The Ballpark at Rosemont
* Tonight was Les Turner ALS Foundation Night at The Ballpark at Rosemont. The Bandits sported specially-designed jerseys to be auctioned off and players from both the Bandits and Racers participated in the “Ice Bucket Challenge” to help raise awareness about ALS.
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.