ROSEMONT, IL (June 8, 2017) – It’s only fitting that The Ballpark at Rosemont was greeted by six incoming flights to O’Hare International Airport in the early stages of Thursday night’s 3-2 win over the Beijing Shougang Eagles. Meanwhile, Sammy Marshall was flying around the bases.
“Speed never has a bad day,” assistant coach Kyla Holas said. “It’s one of those things that I think they’re doing a great job seeing things and creating havoc, taking extra bases.”
The top of the lineup got the Bandits rolling early. Marshall hit a ground ball to the second baseman and reached second following an error. A sacrifice bunt from Abby Ramirez sent Marshall to third and Emily Carosone drove her home with an RBI-single to score the Bandits’ first run of the ballgame.
Sammy Marshall reached base three times on Thursday night, raising her batting average to .800 in the early going. Photo credit: Marina Mantas, courtesy of National Pro Fastpitch.
The third inning saw a little Déjà vu for the Bandits as Marshall reached base with her second hit of the night, followed by a sacrifice fly from Carosone, her second RBI of the game. It gave the Bandits a 2-0 edge at the time. After seeing the success of her lefty hitters in the earlier games in the series, Holas decided to stack Marshall, switch-hitter Abby Ramirez and Carosone, together.
“I want to be someone that the team can rely on, but what’s great about this team is that it’s never just one person,” Marshall said. “Without Carosone’s hits today, we wouldn’t have scored those winning runs.”
After 4.2 innings, Haylie Wagner (W, 4-0) relieved Ellen Sara Roberts, who allowed just four struck out seven in her second start of the season to earn a no-decision. Wagner looked to be in cruise control through two frames until Beijing spoiled the shutout with a two-run seventh inning, marking the Eagles’ first runs as the newest member of the NPF.
It ended a stretch of 21 consecutive shutout innings for the Bandits pitching staff anchored by Roberts, Wagner and Shelby Turnier.
“I’m going to give all the credit [to the 20 inning shutout] to the catcher’s calling,” Holas said. “They’re managing their pitchers well and they’re knowing when things aren’t working, when to make an adjustment, when to call things, when to back off things.”
After Jia Chen bunted to load the bases, Ming Han Yuan singled to center to drive in Bei Wang, tying the game. A bullet from Marshall out in center field nailed the would-be go-ahead runner and sent the game to the bottom of the seventh, tied at 2-2.
The bottom half of the inning would be short-lived as Brenna Moss singled up the middle to bring Marshall to the plate for her fourth at-bat. Marshall, now batting a stellar .800 through her first three games of the season, put a bunt in play and some heads up baserunning allowed Moss to advance to third and she scored the game-winning run on an overthrow.
“That was a tough job, especially physically and mentally,” Holas said. “Tomorrow should be our toughest battle. Hopefully you see that from them tomorrow, that [we] really step up as professionals and battle mentally and physically.”
The Bandits will aim for the sweep in tomorrow night’s series final against Beijing. First pitch is scheduled for 7:35 p.m. CST and the game will be broadcast on NPF TV.
Time of Game: 1 hour, 43 minutes
Vaultz® Lock it Up!® Player of the game: Brenna Moss: (1-for-3, GW-run)
About Chicago Bandits 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 2004, provides elite female athletes with an opportunity to pursue a professional career in fastpitch softball beyond their collegiate and amateur success. The NPF affiliate teams consist of the Akron Racers, Beijing Shougang Eagles, 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.