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Thunder Trade Freed to Chicago for ThreeRockford Adds Depth in Willis, Jessup

ROCKFORD, Ill. – The Rockford Thunder announced today that they have traded veteran Amanda Freed to the Chicago Bandits in exchange for Megan Willis, Krista Jessup and Gina Oaks.

Freed, who turns 28 in December, has been with the Thunder since the teams days in Houston and recently completed her third season with the team.

The utility and former Olympic Gold Medal winning pitcher had her best season with the Thunder in 2005 when she hit .279 in 28 total games. She had an off-season in 2007 hitting just .165 with 28 strikeouts. In limited work in the pitching circle, Freed record a 3-1 record with a 3.08 earned run average.

“This was a very difficult move to make, but one we had to make at this time,” said General Manager Aaron M. Moore. “Amanda has been with the Thunder for some time now and her knowledge and experience is something hard to replace. She is very popular player amongst the coaching staff, management and players and is one of the best people in the game. We wish her nothing but the best.”

In return, the Bandits sent three players to the Thunder. Willis, who was the No. 10 overall draft pick last year by Chicago, hit .169 as a rookie, but was a weapon behind the plate in throwing out would-be base runners. Jessup, who also is known throughout the league for being a solid backstop, had just 35 at-bats on the season and picked up two hits.

The big gain for the Thunder in the trade is the veteran Oaks. Oaks has been in the league since 2004 playing with both Chicago and old New York/New Jersey Juggernaut. In 2007, Oaks hit .203 for the Bandits and was 4-5 in the pitcher’s circle.

“Because we traded such a valuable person in Freed, we felt we had to get value in return,” stated Moore. “The three players we’re getting had down years in 2007, but we’re expecting big years for them here in Rockford.

There’s a chance we’ll lose Mac (Vandergeest) for 2008 as she pursues her eventual career as a firefighter, so we felt the need to get stronger behind the plate and we feel like we’ve done that. And adding a player with the reputation, experience and ability of a Gina Oaks is huge for us.”

For more information on the Thunder or to purchase season tickets for the 2008 season, contact Aaron M. Moore, general manager, at (815) 965-7000 or amoore@thunderprofastpitch.com. The discounted price for season tickets expires on October 31, 2007. For additional information on the team, visit them on the web at www.thunderprofastpitch.com.

- THUNDER -