ELGIN, IL - After having to overcome a 3-0 first inning disadvantage and 4-3 deficit in the second, the Chicago Bandits didn't want to dig themselves into anymore holes.
So they simply scored eight more runs and didn't surrender another anymore.
After having to survive the first three games that were decided in the final inning, the Bandits (28-14) finished off a National Pro Fastpitch sweep of the New England Riptide with an 11-4 win Monday night at the Judson Sports Complex.
"The hitting was contagious, we got the runs right from the get-go," Rachel Folden said. "Having to come from behind is good for our team because that's what we'll have to do in the playoffs. We're trying to get better with every pitch."
After overcoming a 3-0 deficit digging out of a 4-3 hole was no problem. In the third inning Kristie Fox and Rachel Folden singled and Jamie Clark doubled to score one. Nicole Trimboli added two more RBI's to her stat line with a single and the Bandits led 6-4.
Jessica Sallinger came in to pitch for Chicago in the third inning. In five innings Sallinger (11-6) allowed one hit with five strikeouts.
"I was pumped, after having a bad previous game I felt I had to redeem myself." Sallinger said. "I felt more loose and it was easier to pitch. I felt I did well and had a good frame of mind."
The New England Riptide (19-25) showed its power and got to Kristina Thorson early in the first inning. After Jackie Pasquerella reached first on an error, Lisa Modglin and Lyndsey Angus both singled and Pasquerella scored. Pitcher Erica Beach smoked a hard line drive that banged off the second base bag and rolled into the outfield for a two RBI single and six batters into the game the Riptide led 3-0.
The Bandits stormed back and tied the game at 3-3 in their half of the first. Stacy May walked and Fox singled to get on base. One day after hitting a walk-off grand slam, Folden lined a triple down the right field line and two runs scored. Trimboli scored Folden on a sacrifice fly to left field and tied the game.
New England retook the lead 4-3 in the second on a solo home run by Alex Sutton. Sallinger came in to pitch for Thorson to start the third. One day after pitching one inning and getting a win, Thorson pitched two innings as a starter and gave up five hits, four runs-three were earned-and had one strikeout.
Trailing 6-4 in the fourth inning, the Riptide had a chance to get closer when Modglin singled to center field and pinch runner Carmen Paez came racing in to score. But Laura Harms threw a perfect bullet to Folden who tagged out Paez at home.
Mindy Cowles gave Chicago an 8-4 lead in the fifth inning with a double that scored Trimboli and Samantha Findlay. Laura Harms got on base when the Riptide's shortstop bobbled the hard grounder. Cowles was surprised by the error and after overrunning third, took off for home with reckless abandon and got under catcher KJ Kelley's tag and the Bandits led 9-4. Folden added her ninth home run of the season-a two run blast to left field-and Chicago went up 11-4.
"After those nail-biters [in the first three games], it doesn't matter the situation, we want to work hard and play hard from inning one to inning seven," Sallinger said.
Beach (2-7) took the loss for New England.
The Chicago Bandits are in its fourth season in the National Pro Fastpitch women's professional softball league and have qualified for the playoffs three times. Established in 2005, the Bandits moved to Elgin, IL in 2008 and play at Judson University. Chicago and won the NPF Regular Season Championship in 2005 and 2006. Season tickets, group tickets and individual tickets are available and start at $10. For more information call 877-7BANDIT or visit www.chicagobandits.com.