The Chicago Bandits took out their frustration over 6-2 and 7-3 losses to the Akron Racers this weekend by thrashing the Racers 12-3 Sunday at Rosemont Stadium.
The victory gave the Bandits a split of the four-game series with Akron. Chicago won Thursday’s opener 2-0 behind the pitching of Monica Abbott.
Abbott was back on the mound Sunday, throwing four scoreless innings and striking out eight to push her season win-loss record to 8-1. She also lowered her ERA to 1.10 and raised her strikeout total to 82, making her the National Pro Fastpitch leader in those three categories.
The only sour note in Abbott’s performance was another throwing error – her second of the series – when Sharonda McDonald bunted to start the game. McDonald was eventually stranded at third base.
Akron starter Carla Brookbank-Schaal was not nearly as fortunate, or as sharp, as Abbott.
Danielle Zymkowitz led off the bottom of the first for Chicago with a single and stolen base, and Megan Wiggins ushered her home with an 0-1 pitch she planted just over the left field wall. The home run was Wiggins’ fifth of the season and tied her with teammate Alisa Goler for the NPF lead.
Nikki Nemitz sent a full-count pitch off the center field scoreboard for three more runs in the third.
“I wish I could get those two [home run] pitches back,” said Brookbank-Schaal (0-1), who left after three innings and suffered the loss. “They were just too much over the plate.”
The Bandits showed even less consideration for Brookbank-Schaal’s successor, Sharon Palma.
Goler picked up two RBIs in the fourth with a shot that deflected off Palma’s glove and trickled into center field. Nemitz got her fourth RBI of the night with a single that scored Wiggins.
Alexis Jager, who hit the first home run in Rosemont Stadium during a June 4 exhibition game, tagged Palma for her first official NPF hit in the fifth. Jager, pinch-hitting for Wiggins, sent a drive to left field that rolled all the way to the wall and allowed Kristen Shifflett and Amanda Williams to score.
Jager scored when another pinch-hitter, Dorian Shaw, popped a single into left field.
Jamee Juarez scored the Bandits’ final run in the sixth inning on Palma’s wild pitch to Robin Thompson.
The Racers scored all their runs in the sixth inning off Donna Bourgeois, who relieved Abbott in the firth.
Roya St. Clair doubled with two out to drive in McDonald and Taylor Schlopy. St. Clair scored in the wake of Christine Knauer’s two consecutive fielding errors on ground balls hit to her at short.
All in all, Chicago committed four errors in the game to Akron’s one; but the Bandits were able to offset the damage with a sustained hitting attack. Eleven players shared in the 13-hit total, and five Bandits picked up at least one RBI.
“We did a fantastic job of getting runners [home] in this game,” Goler said. “We made the best of our at-bats with runners on base today.”
“That is why this game is so humbling,” said Shannon Doepking, who caught her sixth consecutive game since July 2 while Rachel Folden recovers from an injury to her left wrist. “You can get beat [one] night and come back the next day.”
Bourgeois struck out two batters in three innings. Brookbank-Schaal recorded the only strikeout for the Racers in the game.
The Bandits step away from NPF competition Tuesday, July 14, to welcome the “King and His Court” to Rosemont Stadium. The four-man softball team founded by Eddie Feigner in 1946 is on a farewell tour of the United States. The family-friendly exhibition game between the Court and the Bandits will feature stunt pitching and comedy routines.
It will also serve as a tune-up before Chicago begins a three-week road trip to Akron, Ohio; Orlando, Fla., and Clemens, N.C. for games with the Racers, the USSSA Pride and the NPF Diamonds. Live stats and video streaming for these games will be available online at http://profastpitch.com.