Lisle, Ill. The Chicago Bandits are officially named the number one team in the NPF after they defeated the Arizona Heat, 3-0. The win broke the gap open that guarantees the Bandits the top spot, even though there are two games for each team left in the season.
Lauren Bay (16-1) dominated in the circle with 13 strikeouts to assist the Bandits in their plan to keep Heat players off the bases.
It was no game winning homer, but Mackenzie Vandergeests hit was the first of the game for the Bandits off of Arizonas pitcher, Erica Beach (13-9).
Despite Bays aggressiveness in the circle, she still managed to give up three hits and walked four. In the top of the third, shortstop Jaime Clark and left fielder Anne Steffan both went for the ball off of Ladonia Hughes bat, but the ball dropped perfectly in the gap to give Hughes a double off Bay.
The Bandits exploded in the bottom of the third inning almost batting through the entire batting order with four hits. Anne Steffans wheels got her to first, followed by another single from Vicky Galindo. Gina Oaks brought in Steffan when shortstop Lovie Jung fumbled with the ground ball. Jennie Finch sent the ball up the middle to score the two runners, brining the score to 3-0.
After the damaging inning, Arizona replaced pitcher Beach with Aja Sherman. Beach had finished her three innings pitched with only 1 strikeout, 1 walk, and giving up 5.
Jung drove the ball directly down the first base foul line, just enough to roll over the base to call it fair in the fifth inning. Jung had also earned one of the hits for Arizona in the game the previous night.
Heats Cheryl Schaefer started off the sixth inning with hope for Arizona with a single and then stealing second on a ball that bounced pass catcher Selena Collins. During that inning there was a fly out and two strikeouts, preventing Schaefer from advancing.
No more hits were provided by the Bandits until the sixth inning when Laura Harms hit her first triple of the season. Harms came into the game an inning before in place of Vandergeest, who also had a hit this game. Ciolli had a single immediately after Harms hit, but Chicago was unable to score any more runners.
Sherman finished up the game for Arizona with 4 strikeouts while giving up 2 hits.
The Bandits will face the Heat two more times this series on Saturday at 7.m. and Sunday at noon. To purchase tickets go to any Ticketmaster location or call 1-877-7BANDIT.