Bandits open 2012 NPF season with 4-1 win over Pride: The Chicago Bandits started off a busy day before the game by retiring former Bandit and USA Olympic pitcher Jennie Finch’s number in center field and honoring players from last year’s team with the Championship ring ceremony.
All the festivities had the fans buzzing to begin the game, and the players must have felt it too. Monica Abbott started in the circle for the Bandits and struck out the first three batters she faced to quickly retire the side.
The first inning ended with neither team getting a runner on base and Abbott continued her hot pitching in the second. A Bandits error allowed the Pride to advance a runner to first, but three more Abbott strikeouts brought a quick ending to the inning again.
Both teams’ bats were quiet through the first three and a half innings, but Amanda Williams got the first hit of the game as she hit a triple deep to the wall. Vicky Galindo was next up to the plate and hit a grounder to Cat Osterman who bobbled it, allowing Galindo to advance to first and Williams to come home to give the Bandits a 1-0 lead.
The Pride continued to struggle to find a way to get on base in the fourth, leading to another quick inning. In the bottom of the fourth, Alisa Goler led off for the Bandits with a triple to right field. The Bandits couldn’t bring Goler home though, as Osterman pitched three consecutive strikeouts to bring the inning to an end, leaving Goler on third.
The fifth inning continued the fantastic pitching matchup as Abbott struck out three more batters to bring her total to 10 and Osterman struck out another to bring her total to nine on the night.
Abbott kept up the heat in the sixth inning, striking out two more batters bringing the count to 12. Before the bottom of the sixth, the Pride brought in Jamee Juarez to pitch for Osterman. Juarez picked up where Osterman left off, picking up a strikeout while holding off the Bandits offense, leaving the game at 1-0.
The one run on three hits would be all the offense the Bandits would need as Abbott pitched a no hitter including 14 strikeouts. After an exciting night that included the retirement of Jennie Finch’s number and Abbott’s no hitter, the Bandits held the first ever postgame fireworks show in The Ballpark at Rosemont.