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Chicago Bandits cruised over the Akron Racers with a homer-thirdinning
A homer filled third inning and a near perfect game from Bandits’ pitcher, Kristina Thorson, helped the Bandits continue to cruise against the Akron Racers.
The Bandits’ bats were noisy all night, going to work against Racers’ pitcher, Jamie Southern, a former Bandit, in the bottom of the third. Bandits’ third baseman, Stacy May, started the five run scoring spree, smashing the first pitch she saw far over the heads of the Akron outfielders for a two-run home run. May went 3 for 4 on the night, recording two doubles, one home run and three RBIs.
“I think a lot of it is sometimes you just see the right pitches, and fortunately, I was able to put the right swing on the right pitch,” said May. “I had a rough first at bat, but after that I took the information and made the adjustments.” The hit extended the Bandits’ lead to 3-0 after Angela Findlay smacked a line drive in the second inning to score Amber Patton from first.
Three batters later, with Rachel Folden on first, Bandits’ first baseman, Samantha Findlay, rocketed a ball down the left field line that stayed just fair as it crossed over the fence. The second Bandits’ two-run homer of the inning stretched their lead to 5-0. With that shot Findlay now leads the league in home runs, notching six and topping fellow Bandit, Folden, who has five.
Akron attempted to overtake the Bandits, but just never got the ball rolling, recording only two hits on the night both from Crystl Bustos. Thorson pitched an effective game on the mound, sending eight Akron batters back to the dugout in seven innings pitched and walking none. Her impressive performance is coming on the heels of Jennie Finch’s perfect game last night. The former Wildcat, who arrived in town for a couple of days, threw 11 strikeouts in seven innings and retired 21 batters at Silver Cross Field in Joliet, IL.
Akron’s best chance came on the last out of the game when Racers’ first baseman, Samantha Ricketts, banged a ball deep to right that appeared to be leaving the park for a two-run home run. However, right-fiedler Angela Findlay leapt into the air right at the fence to snag the ball and end the game.
The Bandits decisively won this match, accumulating 10 hits on the night and adding five more runs after the third inning to win the game in high-scoring fashion 10-0 over the Racers.
“We’re just starting to trust in each other,” said Bandits’ head coach Mickey Dean on the win. “Our hitting has gotten better and our pitching is coming along because everybody is starting to trust in each other and starting to feel comfortable. We can do things offensively that we couldn’t do two weeks ago.”
The Bandits are now tied for first with the Racers in the NPF standings with a 12-8 record. The win also puts the Bandits ahead in the series 2-1, a much different story from the last couple of series with the Racers, where the Bandits dropped 5 of 7 games.
"We really didn’t play well in any facet [last series]," said May. "Whatever we needed to work for us wasn’t working and we really shot ourselves in the foot defensively, but this time we seemed to clean up the mistakes a little bit…[and] we put ourselves in the position to win ball games”
The Bandits will return for a matinee match up against the Racers at 2:05 p.m. on Sunday, July 11 to end the series. It will be a special day at Judson University as the Bandits, along with the A.D.O.P.T Pet Shelter, will be hosting the annual "Bark in the Park" Day. Owners can bring their four-legged friends and enjoy various activities set up prior to the game, which includes an opportunity to have their picture taken with their pet from a professional photographer. Doggie pools, community water bowls and a dog-walking area will be provided throughout the game to make the experience enjoyable for all. Fans who wish to bring their pets to the game can purchase a regular priced ticket for themselves along with a $4 ticket for their furry friend, which will be used as a donation for the A.D.O.P.T Pet Shelter.