Kissimmee, FL—August 5, 2016—The USSSA Pride and the Chicago Bandits faced off in a game for the ages, going deep into extra innings in the Bandits’ final home game of the regular season. The Bandits finally won in the 12th inning when Megan Blank hit a walk-off home run to score two and win the game 4-3. After the Pride dropped an avalanche of 13 hits on the Bandits in game two, there were 15 combined hits in tonight’s contest.
The first inning was as good an omen as any that the Pride’s final game against the Bandits would be a long one. The Bandits scored two runs in the first inning all with one out. With runners on second and third, Natalie Hernandez hit a ground ball up the middle to score Jill Barrett. Kelsey Stewart was able to field the ball but made an errant throw on an attempt to get Hernandez out at first. Taylor Edwards scored on the errant throw, making the score 2-0.
The Pride came back in the third with two runs of their own. Following a leadoff single from Haylie McCleney, Shelby Pendley sent a two-run bomb over the scoreboard in right field. That home run evened the game all the way into the 12th, as the score remained tied at two for the remainder of the game.
After six innings of no scoring by either team, international tiebreaker rules were implemented in the tenth inning. The Pride failed to score in the first two innings of tiebreaker play, with automatic runner Hallie Wilson getting thrown out at the plate in the 11th inning. They finally broke through in the 12th when Stewart scored from third on a wild pitch to take the lead. They thought it would be the go-ahead run.
The Bandits had a different plan. With former Pride player Amanda Kamekona placed on second, Blank took the first pitch she saw over the right-center field fence. The home run overcame the Pride’s 3-2 lead and took the final game and the series by a score from 4-3.
Starting pitcher Keilani Ricketts threw four innings and got a no-decision for the outing, as she left the game while it was still tied. Ricketts gave up two earned runs on three hits and one walk while fanning two. Relief pitcher Hannah Rogers pitched seven innings in what might as well have been called a complete game in her stats. In 28 batters faced, Rogers allowed two runs on just five hits and one walk while fanning three. Despite her decent outing, Rogers was credited with the loss.
The Pride begin their final series of the regular season on Monday, August 8, against the Akron Racers. They’ll face off with the Racers in Akron for two games before heading to the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN, to make their final stop on their college tour. The Pride and Racers will then head back to Akron to finish the regular season with one last game. First pitch on Monday is set for 7:00 PM (ET).
USSSA Pride: 3
Chicago Bandits: 4
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About USSSA Florida Pride: The USSSA Florida Pride is a professional franchise in the National Pro Fastpitch League that is owned and operated by USSSA. The amateur organization of USSSA has multi-sport coverage and encompasses teams and players from the United States and abroad.
About USSSA: The United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA), headquartered in Osceola County, Florida, USSSA is the World’s Largest Multi-sport Athletic Organization. Founded in 1968, USSSA has grown to over 3.7 million participants, competing in 13 nationally sanctioned sports including Baseball, Fastpitch, Slow Pitch, Karate, Basketball, Soccer and more! For more information on USSSA and to register your team visit USSSA.com. Also be sure to visit USSSAToday.com for the latest USSSA.
About National Pro Fastpitch (NPF): National Pro Fastpitch (NPF), an Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball since 2002, provides elite female athletes with an opportunity to pursue a professional career in diamond sports beyond their collegiate success. The 2016 NPF season will be televised on CBS Sports Network. Coverage includes the NPF College Draft presented by Bownet on Thur., April 14, followed by 23 regular-season games, a Championship Series Preview Special and the 2016 NPF Championship Series. The NPF recently announced that the Scrap Yard Dawgs, located in The Woodlands, Texas, will join the Akron Racers, Chicago Bandits, Dallas Charge, Pennsylvania Rebellion and USSSA Florida Pride for the 2016 season. National Pro Fastpitch players hail from the U.S., Australia, Canada, Japan, the Netherlands and New Zealand, representing the most accomplished and talented athletes in the sport of women’s softball