ELGIN, Ill. - Amidst strong, inward swirling wind, and with two outs and Bandits centerfielder Lindsay Schutzler on third, rookie catcher Rachel Folden stepped into the box and belted a two-run homerun over the leftfield wall for the first homerun of her career, giving them a 2-0 in the bottom half of the first.
“She threw a change-up and I saw it, so luckily I got the good part of the bat on it,” said Folden after the victory. “I want to make a name for the Bandits, if I’m a part of it, that’s even better.”
The Bandits defeated the Akron Racers (0-1) in their home opener with over 700 people in attendance by a score of 4-0.
Jamie Southern (2-0) was solid on the mound for the Bandits (2-3), allowing just four hits after five innings while striking out four and walking only one.
“It was nice to get the runs early so I could relax,” said Southern. The defense, I knew they had my back the whole time. [The third time through the line-up] my legs were getting a little weak, but I haven’t thrown a full game since 2006 so it was a big deal with my rise ball getting caught and staying low. But I got out of it.”
In the bottom of the fifth the Bandits pressured again by loading the bases after Trimboli and Amanda Freed drew walks. The next batter, Auriel Jenkins, was drilled by a pitch from new pitcher Angel Shamblin, bringing in a run for the Bandits. Still with the bases juiced, Stacy May launched a deep fly to left and brought home Freed to set the score at 4-0 in favor of the Bandits.
In the top of the fifth Akron put the heat on Southern after the first two batters, Barnes and Doepking reached base on singles. Kim Hamilton then bunted them over to third and second, but the inning ended quickly after Stacy May of the Bandits caught a pop-fly down the left field foul line, keeping the score at 4-0.
“Your first game, you’re always interested in seeing how it goes,” said Akron’s starting pitcher Radara McHugh, pulled after three innings of work. “I think it went well and obviously one pitch hurt me [Folden’s homerun], and when I look back on how I threw that will be the one pitch to stick in my mind.”