Bandits rookie Jamie Schloredt stepped into the box against Racers pitcher Lisa Norris (9-5) in the bottom of the seventh, looking at a 4-1 deficit.
Schloredt, previously struck out twice by Norris, blasted the first pitch deep over the left field scoreboard to close the gap to 4-2.
The Racers (23-13) would get the final out they needed, and held on to drop the Bandits (22-8) in the Wednesday matchup of 1 vs. 2 in the National Pro Fastpitch, 4-2.
Eileen Canney (9-2) opened the day in the circle for the Bandits facing off with Lisa Modglin, eventually sitting her down for the first out. Two batters later, with Sari-Jane Jenkins on first, Canney squared off with Akron slugger Crystal Bustos.
Bustos was sent back to the dugout, swinging on strike three. The inning ended on the same play when Bandits' catcher Rachel Folden gunned down Jenkins at second for the final out.
The Bandits reached the scoreboard first in the bottom of the first inning when Bandits leadoff hitter Stacy May blasted her fourth homerun of the season around the left field foul pole for an early 1-0 Bandits' lead. The bottom half of the first ended three batters later when Amber Patton, Rachel Folden and Nicole Trimboli all grounded out to end the inning.
After a hitless second inning for both teams, Canney stepped back into the circle to start off the top of the third. Sam Ricketts kicked things off for the Racers with a single up the middle to put one on for Kristen Butler.
Ricketts was moved to second when Butler grounded out to Canney.
Heidi Johnson (pinch running for Ricketts) moved to third on a passed ball with pinch hitter Sam Banister at the plate. Banister went down swinging on a strike three rise ball from Canney. The inning ended one batter later when Bandits' shortstop Laura Harms threw out Modglin at first.
Sari-Jane Jenkins kicked off the bottom of the fourth with a line drive single up the middle for the Racers. With Jenkins on first, Bustos stepped up to bat against Canney, blasting the homerun to take the lead.
With one on and none out in the top of the fourth, Racers shortstop Crystal Bustos blasted the 1-1 pitch from Bandits pitcher Eileen Canney deep to centerfield for the 2-1 Racers lead. Two batters later, Jenny Topping mimicked Bustos with a solo homerun to deep left-centerfield, giving the Racers a 3-1 lead with one down in the top of the fourth.
Back to back jacks became the name of the game when the very next batter, Jamee Juarez, blasted a solo homerun to nearly the same location as Topping for a 4-1 Racers lead.
After a powerful early fourth inning, a fly out to left and a ground out to second base ended the Racers threat as Canney escaped with no more damage.
The Bandits were held hitless in the bottom half of the fourth to keep the score at 4-1 in favor of the Racers.
Canney relaxed to sit down the Racers with no damage in the top of the fifth.
After allowing only two hits in five innings, Racers' pitcher Juarez walked Bandits shortstop Laura Harms to open the inning. Harms was called out for the first out after she left first base early. Bandits left fielder Ashley Carlson beat out a grounder to third to reach base safely with one out.
One out later, Carlson took second base on an 0-1 fastball down the middle with Amber Patton at the plate. Lisa Norris buckled down in the circle for the Racers, getting Patton to ground out to end the inning.
With two down in the top of the sixth, Topping reached second base on a throwing error by Bandits starter Eileen Canney. Canney finished the inning, ending the threat, when she got Juarez to ground out to third.
Norris remained solid in the circle, getting the first two batters to ground out and pop out to Kenora Posey at second base. Following the two outs, Bandits outfielder Nicole Trimboli drew a walk on a 3-1 count to put one on for Bandits second baseman Kristie Fox.
Fox sent a deep blast to left field, towards the scoreboard, but it fell harmlessly short of the fence for the final out of the sixth.
After closing the gap to 4-2 in the bottom of the seventh, Stacy May popped out to centerfield to end the Bandits' threat. Norris was victorious in her seven innings of work for the Racers, closing the gap in the standings to 10. Any combination of 10 Bandits losses in the next nine games would give the Racers the number one seed in the NPF playoffs August 19-23.
photo Getty Images
photo Getty Images