Elgin – Bandits’ rookie catcher Rachel Folden kept her bat hot, launching a solo shot off the scoreboard in left field –her second homerun in two nights – giving the Bandits a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the third.
“I’m starting to feel real comfortable at the plate, which is a good thing, and it’s early, but it’s just a matter of keeping the mindset when runners get on base,” said Folden. “Hitting is contagious; I don’t care what anybody else says.”
The Bandits (3-3) kept the bats hot, defeating the Akron Racers for the second night in a row, 6-2.
With rain interrupting much of the first inning, the Chicago Bandits struck early, putting two runs on the board to quickly jump ahead of the Akron Racers in game two of four game set after the first.
Akron (0-2) struck back in the top of the second when Brittany Barnes launched a solo homerun off the left field scoreboard, setting the score at 2-1. Bandits’ pitcher Jessica Sallinger buckled down after that, finishing off the second and continuing onto the third by only allowing just one hit and no runs.
In the bottom of the third, following Folden’s blast, the very next batter, Samantha Findlay walked and was replaced on the base-path by speedster Ashley Carlson. Carlson then hopped on her horse to race around the bags, scoring after right fielder Nicole Trimboli smacked an RBI double to right center.
In the top of the fourth, Akron’s pinch-hitter Shannon Doepking stepped up to the plate and rocketed an RBI single to right center, scoring just one as a quick cut off by Bandits’ right fielder Nicole Trimboli the damage.
The fourth ended quickly after that as Akron’s Doepking was caught in a run down between second and first, prompting Angelena Mexicano to race for home. In a bang-bang play she was tagged out at home by Bandits’ Folden, keeping the score at 4-2 in favor of the Bandits.
Leading off the bottom of the fifth for the Bandits, Trimboli shot a hard grounder – barely staying fair – over the bag at third base for a double, with nobody out. Kristie Fox followed her up with a base on balls after getting hit by a pitch. Pepper Wilson replaced her on the base-path as a pinch runner and the next batter, Amanda Freed laced the next pitch up the middle, scoring Trimboli and making the score 5-2 in the bottom of the fifth.
A scary moment in top of the seventh, when Akron’s Angel Shamblin fouled a pitch off her bat, smacking her in the right eye, causing it to puff up immediately.
“It felt good, it was a really good to get past the humidity and the rain,” said Sallinger. “Every time [runs] help you out on the mound.”
Sallinger remained solid on the mound for the Bandits, earning the complete game victory while throwing seven innings with four strikeouts and three walks.