Natalie Hernandez (Chicago Bandits) Photo by Marina Mantas Courtesy of National Pro Fastpitch
ROSEMONT, Ill. (July 4, 2017) – The Bandits concluded their quick two-game home stand winless, dropping the series finale against the Akron Racers 4-2 on Tuesday afternoon.
The Bandits wore USA-themed jerseys for the second consecutive game in honor of their Fourth of July matchup against the Racers. The jerseys were auctioned off over the course of the two-game series with all proceeds benefitting Salute Inc., an organization whose goal is to help provide assistance to veterans.
Natalie Hernandez provided the early offense for the Bandits, who jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the opening frame. Her RBI-single to right brought home Emily Carosone, who reached earlier in the inning with a single. Both base hits, along with a single from Emily Crane, came with two outs.
After going 0-for-5 over the past two games against Akron, Carosone snapped out the slump with a 2-for-3 day at the plate. She also scored both Bandits runs.
“In the slum, I was still hitting the ball hard, just (struggled) to have it drop,” Carosone said. “Today, I was just trying to get it together.”
The Racers responded in the top half of the fourth. With two outs, Jennifer Gilbert, named the Vaultz® Lock It Up!® Player of the Game, tripled to bring home a pair of runs and give Akron the lead for good. A pitching change sent southpaw Haylie Wagner to the circle, although she was welcomed to the game by an RBI-single off the bat of Kelley Montalvo.
An exchange of runs in the fifth and sixth, including a sacrifice fly from Hernandez, kept the Racers’ lead intact at two runs. Down a pair with two innings to play, the Bandits failed to close the deficit, despite putting runners in scoring position.
“I think we just didn’t find a way to keep the momentum,” Bandits head coach Sharonda McDonald said. “Once we get a little momentum and the energy, we have to have the fight to keep it going and keep them off-balance. We didn’t do that very well today.”
Following the two-game home series, the Bandits will hit the road for eight straight games, beginning with another two-game set against the Akron Racers at Firestone Stadium. Chicago (12-13) is currently 3-5 on the season against Akron (13-10).
“They know how talented they are,” McDonald said. “They know how much potential we have, but potential is only on paper – you have to find a way to put it into action.”
First pitch in game one is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CST in Akron. The game will be broadcast on NPF TV.
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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.
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