The Chicago Bandits (41-7) finished up their inaugural regular season with a full-forced comeback against the Arizona Heat, 5-2. After the previous nights disastrous loss for the Bandits, Sundays perfect softball weather provided a great backdrop for the happy ending for the newest addition to the league.
Jennie Finch started and finished the game with Lauren Bay pitching two inning in the middle. Finch, 14-0, had three strikeouts, and have up five hits with two runs. Bay took the win to finish with a record of 17-1. In her two innings, she also struck out three and gave up one hit.
Lauren Bauer started it off for the Heat with a single to the left side. On the next play, Jennie Finch made an incredible forward dive in the dirt to catch a short blooper from Cheryl Schaefer. Getting ahead for the Heat, Tairia Flowers powered the ball over the centerfield wall for a walk off homerun
Vicky Galindo (3 for 4) brought out her dangerous bunt and reached first for a single off of Erica Beach. Gina Oaks sacrificed herself with a bunt that dropped dead right in front of home. The inning ended with the next two batters striking out.
In the bottom of the second, designated player Mackenzie Vandergeest hit the ball right in the gap to make centerfielder Ladonia Hughes dive for the ball, but scooped it up just after it had touched the ground.
Hughes (2 for 2) singled in the third inning for her first hit of the game.While Thompson was up to bat, Hughes made a dash for second but Selena Collins quick on the throw made the out in the third.
After three scoreless innings for the Bandits, the Heat replaced Beach with Dana Sorensen. Beach struck two and only gave up two hits, with one walk.
The Bandits put their first run on the board in the fifth inning with Jaime Clarks ground ball. Galindo initiated the rally with a single up the middle and the next two batters reached on fielders choice, scoring one run with Bandits still down 2-1.
Making for an exciting final game, the Bandits took the lead in the bottom of the sixth. They had tied the score when Megan Ciollis single drove in Christina Enea, who had also singled. Lindsey Hamma came in to pinch hit and reached on an error. Liz Bouck re-entered to run for Hamma at first. The top of the order came up to bring in three more runs for the Bandits. Even as shortstop Lovie Jung had fielded the ground ball from Galindo, the speedy Bandit beat out the throw. The next ground ball to Jung was not as clean and she fumbled the ball to bring home Bouck.
Jaime Clark pulled a fast one when she stood at the plate as a lefty. With Clark on the same side as the catchers throwing arm, Oaks stole second. With the next pitch, Clark was hit by the pitch, but the home plate umpire did not send her to first. The official call was that she did not attempt to get out of the way. After an appeal, Clark stepped back into the batters box only to be hit by another pitch.
Arizona made good efforts to get back in the game, but the tough defense from the Bandits prevented them from doing so. Flowers (2 for 3) came up with a single to the left side and advanced on Toni Mascarenas single. The next batter stuck out, for the first out. With runners on first and second and only one out, Jung hit into a double play. The grounder went to Enea who turned to make the out at first and then threw it to Clark at second for the final out of the game.
Arizonas Sorensen ended up striking three, walking two, giving up four hits and five runs.
The Bandits came back from last nights loss to claim their final game as a victory. The Bandits will be placed in the first seed for the National Pro Fastpitch Playoffs that begin on Saturday, August 27th at 6 p.m. at the Bandits home field in Lisle. The Championship, Homerun Derby, and All-Star Game will be played on Sunday. Click here
for more information. To purchase tickets call 1-877-7BANDIT or any Ticketmaster.
Photo courtesy of Evan J. Thomas