Keilani Ricketts (USSSA Pride) Photo by: Terrill Weil courtesy of National Pro Fastpictch
BATON ROUGE (August 17,2017) – The regular season league champion USSSA Pride showed hits muscle in the opening game of its best-of-3 semifinals, downing the Chicago Bandits on the basis of two big hits, 4-1, Friday in the opening game of the NPF Playoffs at Tiger Park on the LSU campus.
The Pride needs just one win in the next two games against the Bandits to advance to the best-of-3 championship series that starts on Sunday evening. The two teams will meet in the Friday nightcap at Tiger Park at 8 p.m. CT.
The Pride is now 41-9 on the season and Chicago drops to 25-25.
The Pride broke through on Kaia Parnaby of the Bandits in the third inning when Courtney Ceo singled to third base and then Megan Wiggins at the top of the order singled on what amounted to a swinging bunt that she was able to beat out to put runners at first and second with no out.
Kelly Kretschman then reached on a fielder’s choice as Ceo was out at third on a grounder back to the pitcher. But Sierra Romero picked up her team with a one hop doubles to the wall in right center that scored both runs for all the margin that USSSA pitcher Keilani Ricketts (11-3).
Chicago’s best chance came in the top of the sixth that excited the crowd at Tiger Park as former LSU Tiger Sahvanna Jaquish homered to left center to cut the margin to 2-1. That was the end for Ricketts as the Pride brought in Jordan Taylor in relief.
The Pride put the needed insurance runs on the board in the bottom of the inning as following Sierra Romero reaching on a shortstop error, Shelby Pendley pounded a Parnaby offering off the scoreboard in right field for the 4-1 final margin.
Taylor picked up her 13th save in relief and Parnaby took the loss in her five innings to fall to 6-2. Ricketts picked 5.2 innings and gave up just two hits, the lone run and seven strikeouts.
Pendley led the game with two hits and her two RBI.
Game Time: 1:48
Vaultz® Lock It Up® Player of the Game: Sierra Romero (USSSA Pride)
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.