The Chicago Bandits, who do not return home until August 19th, continued their road show last night at the Hall of Fame Fields in Bellevue, Nebraska with a thrilling 6-5 extra inning win over the Akron Racers. With the win, the Bandits improved to 18-10 on the season, and Chicago is now 2 1/2 games ahead of Akron (15-12) in the NPF standings.
The games are being played right after a U12 National tournament featuring 25 travelling softball youth teams from all across the country. After the youngsters play their games in the tournament, they get a chance to see their heroes play the game they love.
On Wednesday night, It took nine innings, by the wait was worth it for Bandit fans as Chicago picked up a 6-5 victory on a solo walk-off homer from first baseman Samantha Findlay (Michigan). The blast over the left field wall came off of Akron Racers ace Lisa Norris, who suffered her third loss of the season against nine wins. The Bandits have now saddled her with her only three losses of the season.
Amber Patton (DePaul) continued her comeback from a early-season foot injury by smacking two doubles and driving in three runs for Chicago. The second double gave the Bandits the lead in the fifth inning 5-3. Starting pitcher Nikki Nemitz (Michigan) helped her own case with a solo home run in the fourth inning to tie the game at 3.
Lisa Modglin had a big two-out, two-run double to put the Racers in the lead in the fifth inning before Patton's double in the bottom half of the frame. Samantha Rickett's (Oklahoma) two-out RBI double off the fence in right centerfield ini the seventh sent the game into extra innings for Akron.
Jessica Sallinger (Georgia Tech) came in the game in relief of Nemitz with two outs in the sixth and promptly picked off Jackies Pasquerella (Villanova) of the Racers who tried to steal third. Sallinger completed the relief effort and improved her record to 4-3 on the season.
After today's series finale, the team travels to Akron for a three-game series at Firestone Stadium from Saturday, July 24th through Monday, July 26th. Then after the off day, the road warriors from Chicago head to Texas to another "home" series, this time a four-game set against the USSA Florida Pride from July 29th through August 1st.
You can see Jennie Finch's last Chicago area appearance with the Bandits before her retirement during a five-game series against the Tennessee Diamonds from August 19th through the 23rd at Judson University in Elgin, Illinois. For tickets, call the Bandits at 1-877-7BANDIT, or go to their website at www.chicagobandits.com.