After lightning ended Bandit-Australian action on Saturday night, play was resumed on Sunday and the 14-hour wait was well worth the dramatic finish catcher Selena Collins supplied with a two-run walk-off homerun to give Chicago the 2-1 victory over Australia.
After looking good in two innings of work against Australia on Friday, Gina Oaks walked the first batter in her first start of the year. Australian center fielder Amanda Doman took four straight pitches to earn the base on balls, but left fielder Belinda Wright followed up with a screamer to Haley Viefhaus at third. Viefhaus snagged the liner cleanly and fired to first to erase the lead off runner.
The Aussies did not put another runner on in the lightning-shortened evening.
In the home half of the Bandits' second at bat, after working the count full, first baseman Jennie Finch earned a led off with a walk.
After starting pitcher Gina Oaks popped out to the catcher, designated player Christina Enea recorded the first hit of her professional career to put two runners on for catcher Selena Collins. Before the Texas A&M alum could see her first pitch of the night, the game was halted.
After retiring the first two batters, center fielder Amanda Doman bunted back to Oaks who fired wide of the bag, allowing Doman to advance to third.
With next batter Belinda Wright occupying the left hand batters box, Oaks sailed a pitch over head that made its way to the backstop. Doman took advantage of the wild pitch and scored the games opening run. Wright earned a walk with the bases empty, but was stranded after Stacey Porter grounded out to Haley Viefhaus at third.
In the top of the fourth, Oaks got the first two batters out, but Belinda Summerville grounded to shortstop Jaime Clark who fielded and fired to first, but Jennie Finch could not hold on, allowing the first base runner of the game. However, Summerville was quickly retired attempting to steal second. A perfect strike from Selena Collins was snagged by Clark and the ball was awaiting the sliding Summerville.
With Amy Harre, replacing Oaks in the circle for the Bandits, Kym Tollenaere ripped a single to right, and Kate Quigley followed with an infield bunt single. With second baseman Leah Quakenbush up to bat, a sharply hit grounder to third base, allowed Viefhaus to flip to a covering Clark to get the lead runner.
On a double steal attempt, Quigley became Collins second victim of the day. Quakenbush moved to second on the throw to third, but Doman could not score the runner, as she grounded to Oaks at second.
After the Bandits went down in order in the bottom of the fifth, Lauren Bay came into pitch for Chicago and allowed a base hit to Belinda Wright to lead off the inning. Slugger Stacey Porter, who hit a solo homer off of Bay on Friday night, was hit by a pitch which put two runners on with no outs.
Bay got Natalie Titcume was the first out of the inning after a bunt attempt was popped up and caught by Selena Collins. Bay settled down to strike out the next to Aussies to eliminate the self-induced threat.
After illness limited Bays action on Friday, she was hit in the cheek by a ball during pre-game warm-ups. After receiving treatment from the trainers, Bay was seen warming up in the bullpen through the first part of the game, before coming on in the fifth.
In the bottom of the sixth, Jaime Clark recorded her first hit as a Chicago Bandit, but was caught stealing when she tried a head-first slide into second, but never made it to the base, and the throw from Kym Tollenaere was waiting.
Trailing 1-0 heading into the bottom of the seventh, Finch drew a lead off walk and was replaced by pinch-runner Kate Varde. After two pop-ups from Oaks and Enea, Collins strode to the plate and belted a two run walk-off homer to earn the most dramatic victory in the Bandits short history.
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