AKRON, OH (July 28, 2016) – A night after the Akron Racers rode one big blast from Ashley Thomas (Georgia Tech) to victory, it was the Chicago Bandits living off one big hit on Thursday night. With two outs in the top of the third inning, Chicago designated player Taylor Edwards stepped up to the plate in a scoreless game with the bases loaded and laced the ball over the fence in right-center field for a grand slam; the Bandits would hold onto the lead from that point and down the Racers 6-3 at Firestone Stadium.
Chicago (18-21) started the top of the third inning with back-to-back singles by second baseman Emily Carosone and catcher Kellsi Kloss. Two batters later, first baseman Brittany Cervantes walked to load the bases and set the stage for Edwards’ blast.
Akron (20-19) mounted a comeback and eventually cut the game to one run, but never was able to overtake the Bandits the rest of the night. Shortstop Sami Fagan (Missouri) kicked off the bottom of the fourth inning with a bunt single. First baseman Sam Fischer (Loyola-Marymount) followed by blasting her team-best ninth home run to left field to cut the deficit to 4-2.
“(The home run) felt really good, not so much for myself, but the fact that I was able to help my team and score a couple runs,” Fischer said. “It felt really nice to come through for them.”
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Thomas continued her torrid pace, blasting a ball over the right field fence to make the score 4-3 in favor of the Bandits. Over her past nine games, Thomas is 13-for-28 with three home runs.
"Offensively, Ashley has been incredible," Racers coach Brian Levin said. "She's on a hot streak now, so hopefully she will continue to do that."
Chicago added an insurance run in the top of the sixth inning when third baseman Megan Blank homered to right field to give her team a 5-3 lead.
The Bandits would add the final run of the game in the top of the seventh inning when Edwards again stepped to the plate and knocked the ball over the left field fence to put Chicago ahead 6-3.
The Racers had their opportunities throughout the night, but could not capitalize on the leadoff hitter getting aboard four different times throughout the evening, which only resulted in one run scored. Akron left four runners in scoring position in the game.
The Racers will look to take the rubber match from the Bandits Friday evening as the two teams continue to jockey for playoff positioning ahead of next month’s NPF Championship Series. Akron currently holds a two-game lead over Chicago for third place in the standings. The top four teams advance to the postseason.
"I'm telling my team to come out tomorrow and win the series," Levin said. "That's what it's all about. Winning two or three every time you play in a series.
“We need to keep our head up because tomorrow is another day."
First pitch for tomorrow’s game is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. For ticket information, call the Racers box office at 330-376-8188 or go online at www.akronracers.org.
About the Chicago Bandits:
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, Emily Allard and Tammy Williams. The three-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 2016 season will be the Bandits’ 12th season in the NPF.
About the Akron Racers:
The Akron Racers, headquartered in Akron, OH, are the oldest existing team in the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) league, celebrating their 15th Season of Play in 2016. The Racers competed in the Women’s Pro Softball League (WPSL) for two seasons in 1999 and 2000 and in the NPF since 2004. Historic Firestone Stadium is home to the Racers and numerous amateur events at all levels of play.
About National Pro Fastpitch (NPF):
National Pro Fastpitch (NPF), an Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball since 2002, provides elite female athletes with an opportunity to pursue a professional career in diamond sports beyond their collegiate success. The 2016 NPF season will be televised on CBS Sports Network. Coverage includes the NPF College Draft presented by Bownet on Thur., April 14, followed by 23 regular-season games, a Championship Series Preview Special and the 2016 NPF Championship Series. The NPF recently announced that the Scrap Yard Dawgs, located in The Woodlands, Texas, will join the Akron Racers, Chicago Bandits, Dallas Charge, Pennsylvania Rebellion and USSSA Florida Pride for the 2016 season. National Pro Fastpitch players hail from the U.S., Australia, Canada, Japan, the Netherlands and New Zealand, representing the most accomplished and talented athletes in the sport of women’s softball.
Note to Media
Photos and b-roll of players is available. Interviews with the league commissioner are welcomed, and top players from each team are accessible immediately. If you’re interested in pursuing story angles about professional softball for women, please don’t hesitate to contact us.