Natasha Watley Photo Courtesy of National Pro Fastpitch
Kissimmee, FL-July 22, 2014- After going hitless through the first four innings, the USSSA Florida Pride offense erupted for four unearned runs in the fifth to beat the Chicago Bandits 4-0 at ESPN Wide World of Sport Complex in Kissimmee, FL. Former Oklahoma Sooner teammates Keilani Ricketts and Michelle Gascoigne squared off in a pitchers’ duel in game one of Tuesday’s doubleheader.
“I knew it was going to be a challenge going up against Michelle and she threw a great game but at the same time I’m glad my teammates were able to get the win for us. This is the first time we’ve faced off in the NPF and I think it was a fun duel for the fans to watch,” said Ricketts about facing her former Sooner teammate.
In the bottom of the fifth, Kristyn Sandberg reached on a one-out walk before Courtney Ceo broke up Gascoigne’s no-hitter with a single to left field. Two batters later Natasha Watley’s bouncer up the middle was misplayed by second baseman Danielle Zymkowitz allowing pinch runner Breja’e Washington to score the first run of the game. Caitlin Lowe then lined a single to right center that scored Ceo. The third run of the game came after pinch hitter Jessica Shults’ ball was misplayed by Gascoigne allowing Watley to score. Andrea Duran then ripped a RBI single to left center that scored Lowe from second base. The Pride offense scored four unearned runs on three hits, all in the fifth inning.
The Bandits threatened in the top of the third inning before Ricketts and the defense got out of the jam. After back-to-back singles by Megan Wiggins and Emily Allard and a walk by Tammy Williams, Ricketts forced Kristen Butler into a 6-2-3 double play to end the threat. Wiggins was 3-3 on the day with three singles.
Rickets (4-3) got her second win of the series after going five innings and striking out five. Cat Osterman threw two scoreless innings in relief allowing one hit and striking out two Bandit hitters. Gascoigne (3-3) suffered the loss after throwing five innings and allowing four unearned runs. With the win, the Pride take a 3-0 series lead.
“I felt good about my performance today overall. I was able to limit the runs until our offense was able to get on the board,” said Ricketts about her performance.
Box Score: Click Here
Site: ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex - Kissimmee, FL
Score: Bandits 0, Pride 4
Records: Chicago (17-12), Pride (23-8)
Next Bandits Game: Thursday, July 24 at 7:05 p.m. EDT vs PA Rebellion at CONSOL Energy Park – Washington, PA
Next Pride Game: Thursday, July 24 at 7:05 p.m. EDT vs Akron Racers at ESPN Wide World of Sports – Kissimmee, FL
About Chicago Bandits
Since 2005, the Chicago Bandits have been members of the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) league. Located in Rosemont, the Bandits provide an opportunity for female fastpitch players to further their careers at a professional level, and the roster has included such names as Jennie Finch, Stacy May-Johnson and Monica Abbott. The two-time NPF Champions play at The Ballpark at Rosemont, the only stadium in the country built for a women's professional team. The 2014 season will be the Bandits 10th season in the NPF.
About USSSA Florida Pride
The USSSA Florida Pride is a professional franchise in the National Pro Fastpitch League that is owned and operated by USSSA. The amateur organization of USSSA has multi-sport coverage and encompasses teams and players from the United States and abroad.
About National Pro Fastpitch
National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) is headquartered in Nashville, Tenn. The league, created to give elite female fastpitch players the opportunity to pursue a professional career in their chosen sport, has operated since 1997 under the names of Women’s Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Women’s Pro Softball League (WPSL). NPF is the Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball in the category of women’s fastpitch softball and has been since 2002.