Natalie Hernandez (Chicago Bandits) Photo by Dina Kwit Courtesy of National Pro Fastpitch
ROSEMONT, Ill. (July 3, 2017) – The Bandits faltered in the opener of a two-game home series against the Akron Racers on Monday night at The Ballpark at Rosemont, dropping game one by a 12-7 final. Down big in the early innings, the Bandits mounted multiple comeback efforts, but ultimately could not overcome the relentless offensive attack from Akron.
The Racers took a quick 4-0 lead before Bandits’ starter Haylie Wagner could record the first out of the game. Shellie Robinson’s grand slam to right proved to be an early blow. The game soon entered a rain delay, which lasted 32 minutes.
“I never thought at any moment that we couldn’t come back and win it,” Bandits head coach Sharonda McDonald said. “I don’t think the [rain delay] affected them. I think this team knows how to fight.”
Wagner responded well to the early halt in the action, bouncing back to retire the next three batters in order with a pair of strikeouts.
Akron soon made it 5-0 in the second frame when Sam Fischer launched a solo shot to the party deck in left field. Fischer, later named the Vaultz® Lock It Up!® Player of the Game, finished 2-for-3 with two home runs and four RBI in the contest.
The Racers’ lead grew to 6-0 before Chicago came roaring back in the bottom half of the third, knocking Akron starter Emily Weiman out of the circle in the process. With two outs and Abby Ramirez aboard, Brenna Moss blasted a triple into the right-center gap to plate to put the Bandits on the board.
Chicago tacked on five runs in the inning thanks to timely two-out hitting. All five runs came with two outs, including a two-RBI single off the bat of Natalie Hernandez and a bases-loaded walk issued to Sahvanna Jaquish.
“[My approach was to] see the ball, make sure that it’s a strike and then hit it,” Hernandez said. “Don’t overthink.”
Akron added two runs in the sixth, only to be matched by a pair for the Bandits in the same frame. Brenna Moss reached on an error by Fischer, allowing both runs to score to bring the deficit within one run again.
A comeback wasn’t in the cards, however, as the Racers scored four insurance runs in the seventh to put the game out of reach. Fischer’s second long ball of the game, a three-run shot, effectively sealed the win for Akron.
Shelby Turnier (2.2 innings pitched) and Breanna Wonderly (1.1 innings pitched) logged relief work for the Bandits.
The Bandits will complete the two-game series against the Akron Racers on Tuesday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. CST at The Ballpark at Rosemont and the game will be broadcast on NPF TV.
Follow along with the Bandits on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for live score updates throughout the season.
For more information about the Chicago Bandits or to purchase tickets to any home game during the remainder of the 2017 regular season, please visit chicagobandits.com or call the box office at 877-722-6348.
Time of game: 2 hours, 24 minutes (game delayed 32 minutes due to rain)
Tonight’s ceremonial first pitch was thrown out by Kirk Havens, a Green Beret who served for nearly 14 years and eight deployments. Cassandra Taylor, Sergeant First Class in the U.S. Army, sang the national anthem. Taylor served for 28 years in the human relations field.
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.
About National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) 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.