ROCKFORD – Tonya Callahan belted her first home run of 2008 to open the scoring in the sixth inning of Friday night’s game. The 2-0 lead produced by Callahan’s shot was enough to win it over the rival Chicago Bandits (0-2) for the second straight night.
Rookie Megan Brown (1-0) tossed a three-hit complete game shutout in her first professional outing. Brown, a 2007 graduate of Florida Southern, was added to the Thunder roster after trying out for the club this spring. Three singles was all the Georgia native allowed to the Bandit offense.
For the second consecutive night, Chicago threatened early, when Stacy May drew a leadoff walk from Brown and Amanda Freed singled through the right side of the infield to put runners on the corners. Brown quickly struck out catcher Rachel Folden and got Samantha Findley to ground into a double play to Rockford second baseman Lindsay Gardner.
Brown and Bandits pitcher Jessica Sallinger (0-1) proceeded to enter into a pitchers’ duel and for the next four innings just one Chicago and four Rockford hitters graced the base paths.
In the sixth inning both offenses came to life. The Bandit sixth saw second baseman Aileen Morales draw a leadoff walk and immediately steal second. May bunted Morales to third to set up Freed. The Bandit right fielder attempted a suicide squeeze play to drive Morales in from third, but Rockford catcher Savannah Brown was just able to tag a streaking Morales to end the threat.
With one down in the bottom of the sixth, veteran Kristen Zaleski sneaked a single through the middle of the infield. That set the table for Callahan to smack a homer down the left field line to take the late lead for the Thunder.
Rockford and Chicago will once again square off Saturday evening at 5:35 pm at SportsCore in northwest Rockford. After the game, Thunder players and staff will join fans at the Firefly Restaurant in Loves Park. Tickets start at just $5, and the Thunder ticket office opens at 4:00 pm just outside the stadium.