Kristen Brown - Photo by Dina Kwit Courtesy of National Pro Fastpitch
ROSEMONT, IL (June 1, 2017) For the third year in a row, the Chicago Bandits began their season 1-0 after Thursday night’s 3-2 win against the Akron Racers. Emily Carosone delivered the Vaultz® Lock it Up!® Play of the Game with a walk-off base hit in the bottom of the seventh and Bandits pitching was sharp in the victory.
Both starting pitchers had it going early, with each putting up zeroes through the first two frames.
The Bandits opened the scoring in the bottom of the third with a towering Kristen Brown solo home run to left, marking the first run of the 2017 NPF season.
“I was super excited about it (the home run),” Brown said. “Being able to get the opportunity, have an at-bat, and put some runs on the board for the team, that was awesome.” Brown hit the homer on a 2-1 count, her favorite count as a hitter.
“My approach at the plate is just to stay calm, stay confident, see a good one and drive,” Brown said. “I don’t go for home runs – they just go out. As long as I’m putting runs on the board, I’m doing the job for the team and that’s all I can ask for.”
Taylah Tsitsikronis followed Brown’s home run with a bloop double into left and eventually came around to score the Bandits’ second run of the game on an infield single off the bat of Brenna Moss.
Bandits’ starter Shelby Turnier, a second-year right-hander from Central Florida, was dealing through the first four innings. She allowed no runs on just three hits while striking out six batters and departed with a 2-0 lead.
Turnier said it gave her a boost of confidence getting the nod in the season opener.
“It feels really good,” Turnier said. “I like to be the person who gets the opportunity to set the tone.”
Turnier fell behind in the count against multiple Racers batters during her outing but was able to attack the zone late in the at-bats to get key strikeouts.
“I used a lot of off-speed pitches to get those strikeouts or to set other pitches up so I think that’s what was helpful,” Turnier said.
Ellen Roberts then entered the game in relief and tossed a clean fifth inning. She ran into trouble in the sixth, however, as three hits in the frame allowed the Racers to score a pair of runs and even the score.
Bandits’ southpaw Haylie Wagner entered the game with one out in the top of the seventh. She induced a fly out to center for the second out of the inning, then walked former Bandits player A.J. Andrews but was able to strand her with a timely strikeout to get out of the inning.
With the game tied at two entering the bottom of the seventh, the Bandits quickly loaded the bases with no outs. Emily Crane and Emily Allard both singled to open the inning, followed by a Brenna Moss bunt for a base hit. With the bags packed with Bandits, Emily Carosone stepped in and worked a long at-bat, fouling off multiple pitches down the left field line. On a 2-2 count, she delivered the walk-off hit back up the middle, scoring Crane and giving the Bandits their first victory of the regular season.
The next game is Friday, June 2 at The Ballpark at Rosemont, the second of a three-game series against Akron. First pitch is scheduled for 7:35 p.m.
* Vaultz® Lock it Up!® Player of the Game: Emily Carosone (2-for-4, GW-RBI)
* Game time: 1 hour, 59 minutes
* Attendance: 857
For more information about the Chicago Bandits, or to inquire about purchasing tickets for the 2017 season, visit www.chicagobandits.com or call the front 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, Monica Abbott and Tammy Williams. The four-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 2017 season will be the Bandits 13th season in the 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 NPF affiliate teams consist of the Akron Racers, Beijing Shougang, Chicago Bandits, Scrap Yard Dawgs, Texas Charge and USSSA Florida Pride for the 2017 season. National Pro Fastpitch players hail from the United States, Australia, Canada and China among which are the most accomplished and talented athletes in the sport of women’s softball.