After traveling with Team USA and making special appearances, Jennie Finch returned to the Chicago Bandits to take the first game over the New England Riptide, 2-1.
Finch recorded a great game in the circle with 11 strikeouts, walked 1, and gave up 4 hits. Three of the hits occurred in the final inning.
Jocelyn Forest pitched for the Riptide and gave up the same amount of hits as Finch, but only struck out 2 and walking 4. This game was Forests third loss of the season.
Offensively, Vicky Galindo started things off right for the Bandits in the first inning. As the first batter she drove the ball to the right centerfield gap. Two pitchers later she advanced to second base on a pass ball. Gina Oaks accepted the ball four to take her to first.
Finch hit the ball right up the middle to bring Galindo home for an RBI. The star pitcher also has impressive offensive stats by leading the Bandits with 19 RBIs.
Lindsey Hamma had the right idea with a line drive up the middle, but second baseman Lisa Iancin interfered when she made an incredible diving catch for the final out of the inning.
In the second inning, Riptides Lyndsey Angus replied to the Bandits power with a shot to leftfield for a single. Angus owned two of the four hits off of Finch this game.
Iancin attempted to sacrifice herself for to move Angus over, but ended up bunting into a double play. The inning ended on Stephanie Bests strikeout.
Liz Bouck earned herself a single with a ground ball to third basemen and took second with the overthrow. No other Bandits made it on base until the 3rd inning when Jaime Clark was hit by the pitch.
The Bandits were able to put another run on the board in the fifth inning.
Galindo got on base for a second time this game by a walk. Galindo making the most of her time on the bases by aggressively stealing second base and continuing on to make her way to third when their was an overthrow. Oaks laid down a perfect bunt and beat out the throw to make her safe at first and also Galindo safe at home, bringing the score to 2-0.
New England would not go without a run, so in the final inning Kellie Wilkerson came up to bat and powered the ball directly up the middle over the 225 foot deep fence. Wilkerson got the momentum going for New England as they were able to put the pressure on the Bandits, however they still came up short.
Angus was the next runner on base with her second single of the game. Left fielder Laura Harms made a clean sliding catch in left field for the second out of the inning. Best came up with a hit that advanced Moore to second, who was pinch running for Angus. Jen Scavone held her ground as she approached the plate with the winning run on first by working Finch to a full count with some foul balls. Finch closed the game with a strikeout, finishing her up with 11 strikeouts for the game.
The Chicago Bandits and New England Riptide will continue the series at 7 p.m. on Friday, August 12th at the Sports Complex of Benedictine University. For tickets go to any Ticketmaster location or call the Bandits hotline at 1-877-7BANDIT.
Photo courtesy of Evan J. Thomas