By: Jami Lobpries

IMG_4182Kissimmee, FL-July 30, 2014The USSSA Florida Pride head to Rosemont, Illinois this week for their final 2014 regular season series versus the Chicago Bandits. The Pride and Bandit series begins Thursday, July 31st at 8:05 PM (ET) at The Ballpark at Rosemont. Games two and three are set for 8:35 PM (ET) on Friday and Saturday night. Sunday’s series finale will be a doubleheader to make-up the rained out game from Florida. First pitch for game one Sunday is set for 4:05 PM (ET).

Going into the series, the Pride lead the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) with their 26-9 record while the Bandits are second with their 21-14 record. In their previous series, the Pride won all three games at ESPN Wide World of Sports including an exciting, walkoff win in game one against Monica Abbott. Overall, the Pride lead the Bandits 7-4 in head-to-head match-ups this season. A series win would set the Pride up well for a regular-season title and number one seed in the NPF Championships in Hoover, Alabama.

Pride Players to Watch:

  • Caitlin Lowe is currently on an impressive 10 game hit streak. During the last two series in Kissimmee, the former Arizona Wildcat went 11-21 including three consecutive multi-hit games. Lowe’s .371 average is second on the team and third in the NPF behind Chicago’s Emily Allard and the Pride’s Andrea Duran.
  • LHP Cat Osterman is off to a dominant 12-0 start in 2014. The two-time Olympian from Texas leads the NPF in wins (12), strikeouts (110), and ERA (0.600). Osterman has 41 more strikeouts and 4 more wins than the next highest pitcher.
  • Amanda Kamekona has to be the most clutch pinch hitter this year. In limited at-bats, the former UCLA Bruin Kamekona is second on the team and sixth in the NPF with her 21 RBIs. Kamekona has hit four pinch hit homeruns and last series set up the game winning inning with a one-out, pinch-hit double in the 7th against Akron.
  • In the last series with Chicago, Keilani Ricketts was 2-0 against the Bandits. The lefty (4-4) threw an impressive 12 innings against the Bandit offense allowing one earned run and striking out 6.

Bandits Players to Watch

  • Rookie Emily Allard leads the NPF with her .429 average, 43 hits and 27 runs scored. The lefty slapper from Northwestern has been slowed down by the Pride pitchers hitting .296.
  • Veteran shortstop Tammy Williams is hitting .352 on the season good for sixth best in the NPF. Her 8 homeruns are tied for the league lead with teammate Brittany Cervantes and her 27 RBIs rank third.

Fun Facts

  • The series features players from 8 different Southeastern Conference (SEC) schools including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, Ole Miss, Tennessee, and Texas A&M.
  • 2013 Women’s College World Series Flashback. The Oklahoma Sooners beat the Tennessee Lady Vols to capture the 2013 National Championship. The Pride’s Keilani Ricketts and Jessica Shults and the Bandit’s Michelle Gascoigne were members of the Sooners while the Pride’s Madison Shipman and the Bandit’s Ellen Renfroe were members of the Lady Vols.
  • Chicago’s Kristen Butler was Pride pitching coach Jenny Gladding’s collegiate catcher at the University of Florida in 2003 and 2004.
  • Danielle Lawrie, married to Drew Locke, and Kristen Butler, married to Marcus Smith, are the only two NPF players who are currently married.

After the Chicago series, the Pride have one more series on the road in Akron and then close out the 2014 NPF season at home against the Pennsylvania Rebellion. NPF Championships begin August 20th in Hoover, AL. For tickets and to watch the Chicago series, visit the Bandits website at www.chicagobandits.com. To purchase tickets for the final Pride home series, visit www.dev.usssapride.com.

Follow all of the Pride action on Twitter @dev.usssapride.com 

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 NPF:

National Pro Fastpitch is headquartered in Nashville, TN. The league, created to give elite female fastpitch players the opportunity to pursue a professional career in their chosen sport, has operated since 1997 under the names of Women’s Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Women’s Pro Softball League (WPSL). NPF is the Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball in the category of women’s fastpitch softball since 2002.

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.