Bandits pitcher Jennie Finch (fresh off a stint in Japan with team USA) came back with a vengeance, helping her own cause in the circle by blasting the first pitch of the bottom half of the fourth inning deep to left field for the solo home run, tying the score at 4-4 with the Akron Racers.
With the score at 4-4 and with Amber Patton on first, Bandits (23-9) catcher Rachel Folden blasted a 2-1 pitch deep to centerfield and off the wall, bringing Patton around to score from first for the game ending run and a 5-4 Bandits victory over Akron (24-14).
Lisa Modglin kicked things off for the Racers by reaching second base on a pop up that was dropped by Bandits’ left fielder Gina Oaks. Two outs later and with Modglin on third and Crystl Bustos on second base after a walk and a steal, Bandits’ ace Jennie Finch (5-1) walked Akron’s Jenny Topping to load the bases.
With the bases quickly juiced and a full count, Racers’ right fielder Jamee Juarez patiently watched as ball four came across the plate, earning a free pass to first, giving the Racers a 1-0 lead in the top of the first –still with no hits on the board due to walks and an error.
Finch buckled down one batter later to end the inning by getting Akron’s Sam Ricketts out on a grounder to first.
In the bottom half of the first with one out, Bandits rookie Amber Patton put the Bandits in the hit column with a 3-2 blast down the left field line for a double. Rachel Folden immediately followed Patton with a double of her own, moving Patton to third on the play.
After getting Jennie Finch to strike out looking, Akron’s Lisa Norris floated a pitch right down the middle to Bandits first baseman Samantha Findlay. Findlay blasted the pitch deep to left field and over the scoreboard for a 3-run homerun, giving the Bandits a 3-1 lead with two down in the first.
Norris buckled down to strike out Nicole Trimboli for the final out of the first. Due to a rib injury on the home run swing, Findlay was replaced at first by Trimboli and Ashley Carlson came in to play centerfield for the Bandits.
Akron struck again in the top of the third when Jackie Pasquerella came around to score on a blooper single by Juarez – also loading the bases, and putting the score at 3-2.
After a balk by Finch brought home Heidi Johnson (pinch runner for Bustos) to tie the score at three each, Finch walked Ricketts to put two on in scoring position with only one out. One batter later, a passed ball put the Racers in front, 4-3.
In the bottom of the fourth, Bandits’ speedster Ashley Carlson followed up Finch’s home run with a slap-hit single back to the pitcher to put one on for Trimboli. Two batters later, Jamie Schlroedt, blasted a pitch deep to left field. Carlson was on her horse as she rounded third and headed home, but came up short as Racers’ catcher Kristen Butler tagged her out at home for the final out of the inning in a bang-bang play.