The legend of National Pro Fastpitch, National, and Olympic pitching star Jennie Finch (Arizona) continued tonight under the lights at Silver Cross Field in Joliet, Illinois. The home of the baseball minor league affiliate Joliet Jackhammers was the backdrop for perfection tonight, as Finch pitched a perfect game against the power laden Akron Racers. The 2-0 victory for the Chicago Bandits pulled them within one game of first place Akron after the Racers had pulled out a come from behind extra inning win the night before.
Finch had mastery of her rise ball, changeup, and breaking pitch all evening long, striking out eleven Racers batters. She went to a 3-1 count on just one batter and had a few full count showdowns with the Racers. The only hard hit ball of the entire game by Akron came in the top of the seventh, as Akron centerfielder Lisa Modglin (Cal-Poly) lined out to Bandits second baseman Vicky Galindo (Cal-Berkeley) for the first out of the inning. Finch had two strikeouts in the third and fifth innings, and struck out the side in the sixth. Only one batter was able to hit the ball out of the infield, as Micaela Minner (Missouri) flew out to Bandits rightfielder Angela Findlay (Michigan) to lead off the fifth. Minner was the hero in last night's game for Akron, as her two-run homer in the ninth led the Racers to the extra inning win.
Stacey May (Iowa) led off the game with her fourth homer of the season off of Akron Racers hard-luck loser, Jamee Juarez (Ohio State), who scattered six hits to take the loss. Finch helped her own cause with a sacrifice fly for the only other run of the game in the bottom of the fifth, scoring Galindo who had doubled with one out in the frame.
With the win, Chicago improved to 11-8, and is now one game back of first-place Akron (12-7) in the tight NPF standings. The USSSA Florida Pride entered tonight's action at Tennessee with a record of 12-7 as well.
The four-game series continues on Saturday night at Judson University in Elgin, with pregame coverage to begin at 6:55 PM Central Time, live and archived on mlb.com. First pitch will be ten minutes later. Probable starters are Kristina Thorson (Cal-Berkeley) for the Bandits and Taryne Mowatt (Arizona) for the Akron Racers. Tickets for all Bandits games are available by calling 1-877-7BANDIT, or going on line at chicagobandits.com