TUCSON, ARIZ Donning their orange jerseys for the first time this season, the Chicago Bandits improved their record to 2-0 after taking game two from the Venezuela National Team in a 6-3 fashion. Both squads are competing in a four-game series that span June 1-4.
Vicky Galindo led the charge after batting .750 (3-for-4) on the night with two runs. With a deep-center field homerun, Jaime Clark proved all those right who voted her to be the first Bandit to accomplish the feat on a web-based fan poll.
Amy Harre began the night in the circle for the Chicago squad, pitching six complete innings and striking out three before newcomer Jessica Sallinger came in for relief. Sallinger tallied a K of her own In her professional debut.
As rain fell and the sun shined simultaneously, Galindo wasted no time adding to the Bandits statistics, as well as her own, as she opened the game in the first inning with a triple to right center but was left stranded at the end of the inning. Galindo led the team with three triples last season while Trena Peel managed to leg out four of her own while playing for New York last year.
With one out in the bottom of the second, Stacy May recorded the first hit of her professional career, stretching it into double after a Venezuelan outfield miscue. Christina Enea followed with a single to left field, advancing May to third. With runners at the corners, Jessica Williams slapped a shot over shortstop Denisse Fuenmayors head to score May and notch her first hit and RBI in NPF competition.
Trailing Chicago 2-0, Venezuela answered back by adding two runs to the board in the top of the third inning. The scoring streak began with a May Rosa Oconto infield single. She then advanced to second on a fielders choice, leading up to a Yusmary Perez walk Anadys Suarez reached first on an error as Oconto and Perez moved up one base each. With a single, Zuleima Cirimelle tallied two RBI to even the score at 2-2.
With the score tied at 2-2 in the third, Trena Peel drew a walk and Jaime Clark unloaded a cannon to dead center field for the clubs first homerun of the season, proving all those right who voted for her in the preseason poll that asked who would hit the first homerun for the Bandits in 2006. Clarks bomb was more than enough to reclaim the lead at 4-2.
In what appeared to be the beginning of a back-and-forth matchup, Venezuela tallied another run in the top of the fourth, bringing the international squad within one run of tying the Bandits.
Chicago was not phased by the Venezuela charge as the Bandits jumped out to an early bases-loaded, no out situation for Trena Peel in the bottom of the fourth. In similar fashion to last nights antics, Peel ripped a single to left field and tallied herd third RBI of the season as Jessica Williams came running home. Williams began the inning by taking four balls for free ticket to first base and advanced to second on an Anne Steffan bunt single. Vicky Galindo mirrored Steffans performance, singling with a bunt of her own.
Even with a fifth-inning Fuenmayor double, Harre and the Bandit defense iced the hitting attack and stepped out of the top half with their 6-3 lead still in hand.
In the bottom of the sixth inning a familiar face stood at first base. Owner Bill Conroy filled in as the first-base coach and greeted both Steffan and Galindo to center and left fields, respectively.
The Bandits improve to 2-0 on the season and now boast a 5-1 series record over the Venezuela squad. The two teams will meet once again tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m. in Lisle, Ill. The game will be played at Sports Complex on the campus of Benedictine University.