Haylie Wagner Photo by Dina Kwit Courtesy of National Pro Fastpitch
ROSEMONT, IL (June 6, 2017) – Dust off the NPF record book – an update is needed after Tuesday’s historic game at The Ballpark at Rosemont. Chicago squeaked out a 1-0 win against the Beijing Shougang Eagles, the NPF’s newest franchise, while setting the record for quickest game recorded in Bandits history at a rapid 1 hour, 22 minutes.
The Beijing Shougang Eagles, a team comprised mostly of Chinese National Team players mixed with select American players, made their National Pro Fastpitch debut Tuesday against the Bandits. Beijing and NPF reached an agreement in April 2017 that introduced the Eagles to the league as a member team beginning in 2017. Today’s contest marked the first game of the season for Beijing.
“It’s awesome to see this Beijing team come out and play here,” Bandits center field Sammy Marshall said.
The focal point in the affair was starting pitcher Haylie Wagner, who dominated Beijing hitters from the first pitch through her exit after the fifth to earn her third win of the season. Wagner gave up just one hit and allowed no runs while striking out six. Throughout her outing, she painted the corners of the plate and jammed Beijing batters to induce weak contact. Perhaps her most impressive number on the day was her ratio of balls to strikes. Out of 57 total pitches thrown by Wagner, 46 were tossed for strikes.
“My approach was to really hit my spots and throw my game,” Wagner said. “That’s the main thing when you have a brand new team you know nothing about. You just have to go out there and throw and that’s exactly what I did.”
The Bandits scraped across their lone run in the third when center fielder Sammy Marshall crossed home on a Danielle Zymkowitz RBI-groundout to Beijing second baseman Yan Zhang. Marshall was 2-for-2 and scored what turned out to be the game-winning run.
Marshall was back in the lineup for the first time during the 2017 season after recovering from a leg injury suffered prior to the start of the campaign.
“I love this field, I love this team, I love playing in front of these fans,” Marshall said. “It was a long offseason. Just to come out here and finally put that uniform on and a few at-bats and play center field, it was amazing.”
Ellen Roberts entered the game in the sixth in relief of Wagner and continued putting down Eagles hitters, giving up a lone hit and no runs through the final two frames.
Beijing mustered just two hits on the day, with neither being hit sharply.
With the historic win, the Bandits improved to 3-1 on the young season after taking two-of-three games from the Akron Racers to open up their back-to-back championship defense.
The next game for the Bandits is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. on Wednesday night against Beijing. It will be the second game of a four-game set against the Eagles. The game will be broadcast on NPF TV.
Time of game: 1 hour, 22 minutes
Vaultz® Lock it Up!® Player of the Game: Sammy Marshall (2 for 2, 2 SB)
Since 2005, the Chicago Bandits have been members of the National Pro Fastpitch league. Entering their 13th season as a franchise, the Bandits have provided the Chicago area with high-level softball talent and entertainment en route to capturing six regular season titles and four Cowles Cup championships, the most recent coming during the 2016 campaign. Located in Rosemont, the Bandits play at The Ballpark at Rosemont, one of the premier softball facilities in the nation. The Ballpark at Rosemont is the only stadium in the country built exclusively for a women’s professional softball team. The Bandits provide an opportunity for female fastpitch softball players to further their careers at the professional level and has included legendary figures such as Jennie Finch, Monica Abbott and Tammy Williams.
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.