Emily Blank (Chicago Bandits) Photo by Dina Kwit courtesy of National Pro Fastpitch
ROSEMONT, Ill. (August 12, 2017) – The Chicago Bandits were dealt a six-run loss at the hands of the USSSA Pride on Saturday night at The Ballpark at Rosemont in a game with notable playoff implications.
The Bandits wasted no time getting on the scoreboard as Brenna Moss doubled to open the game and came around to score on a base hit into left field off the bat of Megan Blank. The former Iowa standout has now hit safely in nine of her last 13 games.
“Just keeping a simple approach and not trying to do too much,” Blank said of her recent mindset at the plate. “I know that I work best when I keep my approach up the middle and things have just been starting to fall.”
Chicago entered the second leading by one, but the Pride responded with three runs of their own in the top of the frame to take a 3-1 lead.
Sahvanna Jaquish continued her excellent rookie season by drawing a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the second to cut into USSSA’s lead. The first-year backstop’s team-leading 28th RBI of the year brought the Bandits within a run.
Southpaw Haylie Wagner got the start in the contest but lasted only two innings, surrendering three runs on five hits. Kaia Parnaby entered in relief to start the third and tossed two clean frames to lower her ERA to a team-best 1.56.
Reigning NPF Player of the Year Kelly Kretschman connected on a solo home run off Ellen Sara Roberts in the top of the fifth to make it a 4-2 ballgame. Roberts logged 1.2 innings in the circle and allowed three runs on two hits.
The Pride offense tacked on two more in the sixth, both off Roberts, to extend its lead to 6-2. Rookie Breanna Wonderly gave up another pair of runs in the seventh, cementing the 8-2 defeat.
“I just thought we didn’t have enough offense,” Bandits head coach Sharonda McDonald said. “We scored early, which is a good sign for us, but we still have to do a good job of keeping it rolling.”
Chicago’s loss, paired with a win by the Akron Racers over the Texas Charge on Saturday night, creates a meaningful scenario heading into Sunday’s regular season finale. Depending on Sunday’s results, the Bandits could wind up as the No. 3 or 4 seed in the NPF Championship Series. Regardless of their position, the Bandits know that a new season begins once the playoffs start on Aug. 17 at Tiger Park in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
“I think for another year in a row, we’re the underdog going into championships and I think we play better, honestly,” Blank said. “I’m pretty excited – once we get there, I have a good feeling.”
The Bandits conclude the 2017 regular season with the final game of their current three-game series on Sunday against the Pride. First pitch is slated for 3:05 p.m. CST at The Ballpark at Rosemont. The game will be broadcast on NPF TV.
Follow along with the Bandits on Twitter, Facebook 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 season, please visit chicagobandits.com or call the box office at 877-722-6348.
Time of game: 2 hours, 29 minutes
Vaultz® Lock It Up!® Player of the Game: Kirsti Merritt (USSSA) – 2-for-4, 2B, RBI
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.