Allentown, Pa.- The Philadelphia Force and Comcast Chicago Bandits completed a day/night doubleheader at ECTB Stadium with each team claiming one victory. The Force took game one by a score of 9-1, and the Bandits turned the tide on Force by taking game two, 6-0.
The Bandits took five of the eight games played between the two clubs, including three of the four played in Allentown.
In game one, the Force fell behind early in the contest. Stacy May reached on a lead-off error to start the game. She was successfully sacrificed to second base by Kristie Fox. May would score the game’s first and the Bandits’ only run on a singled by Jaime Clark, who is leading the NPF in RBI’s with 31 on the season.
After that half inning, the Force took over the game. Clare Burnum greeted Bandits’ starter Tracie Adix by driving her first pitch over the right-center field fence to quickly get the score even. It was Burnum’s second dinger of the season. One out later, Kellie Wilkerson singled for the first of her three in hits in four at-bats. Chelsea Spencer followed by drawing a base on balls from Adix. With runners on first and second, Savannah Long started her big game by knocking a home run to right field, her fourth of the season. Not to be let out of the hit parade, Kristen Miller launched her first professional home run of her career to finish the five-run first inning.
Long continued driving in runs in the third. Wilkerson started the inning with a single, and Spencer followed with a double. Long would then drive in her fourth and fifth run of the game with a single to right field.
In the fourth inning, the Force put up two more runs on the board. Burnum started with a singled down the third base line. Emily Friedman moved her up one base with a single of her own. Wilkerson then reached with her third consecutive hit of the day to plate Burnum and move Friedman to second. Spencer gave herself up and bunted each runner one base closer to home. Long then completed her six RBI day with a single to score Friedman.
As for the pitchers in game one of the day/night doubleheader, Force pitcher Katie Burkhart (7-2) went the first five innings to gain the win. Stacy Birk completed the win by going the last two innings. Burkhart struck out four and allowed four hits. Birk gave up one hit and struck out one Bandit batter. For the Bandits, Adix (2-2) picked up the complete game loss. She took one for the club and allowed all nine runs on 13 Force hits. Adix struck out three batters on the day.
The second game started with the Bandits jumping out to early lead. May singled to start the series finale. One out later, Rachel Folden blasted a two-run home run off of Force starter Margo Pruis. Center field Sharona McDonald had a beat on the ball, but it bounced off of her out-stretched glove as she crashed through the portable outfield fence.
The Bandits padded the lead in the top of the second and third innings. Laura Harms started the second frame with a walk and was sacrificed to second by Aileen Morales. At this point, Burkhart was sent into pitch for the Force. May welcomed the first-game winner with a single to right field to score Harms and put the Bandits up 3-0. In third, May continued her hot game by doubling home Mindy Cowles, who walked, and Harms, who singled.
After pounding out 13 hits in the opening game, the Force could do very little against former teammate, Kristina Thorson (5-5). Last year’s Rookie Pitcher of the Year picked up the complete game victory. She only allowed three hits and struck out four batters.
The Bandits added a run in the sixth inning on a Nicole Trimboli RBI single.
Pruis (3-3) pitched a 1.1 innings and was credited with three earned rules. Burkhart worked 4.2 innings in this game and allowed three runs on seven hits. Jodie Cox made her third appearance in the circle and pitched the seventh inning.
Life doesn’t get any easier for the Force as they play next eight games in nine nights against the first place Washington Glory, who the Force trail by one game. The first four games will be played in Chantilly, Virginia starting on Friday night and running through Monday. All games are set for After the four game down south, the two teams travel back up north for a four-game set at ECTB Stadium running from Wednesday, July 30 to Saturday August 2. All games are scheduled with a first pitch.