Kissimmee, Fla. – It was a heated contest tonight as the USSSA Florida Pride took on the Chicago Bandits for the first time since the two teams went head-to-head in Lubbock, Tex. back in the beginning of June.
Katie Burkhart started in the circle for the Pride and took the win, allowing two runs on five hits in five innings of work. Sarah Pauly came in in relief in the top of the sixth and earned the save for the night, allowing only one run on two hits.
Eileen Canney started for the Bandits and shouldered the loss, allowing three runs on six hits before being relieved by Kristina Thorson who was in turn relieved by Nikki Nemitz.
The contest remained scoreless through the top of the fourth with both pitchers working the circle well, allowing only three hits combined to that point in the contest.
The Pride made their way on the board in the bottom of the fourth, with three base hits to lead off the inning. Charlotte Morgan struck first with a single, followed by consecutive doubles from Kelly Kretschman and Andrea Duran, the second of which advancing Morgan to the plate. A sacrifice fly from Tonya Callahan drove in a run from Kretschman. Amber Flores came to the plate next and reached first on a line to left, advancing Duran to scoring position on third with only one out on the inning. Melissa Roth stepped up next and a pass ball on her at-bat allowed Duran to score and Flores to threaten on second. Relief pitcher Kristina Thorson hit Roth, allowing her to reach and followed by hitting Natasha Watley, loading the bases for the Pride. Alissa Haber reached next on a fielder’s choice, preventing Flores from scoring, and was followed by Jessica Mendoza who retired the inning on a strikeout, leaving three stranded.
The Bandits struck back in the top of the fifth. Angela Findlay led things off with a single. After a fly-out to left from Emily Friedman, Caitlin Lever laced her second base hit of the contest into the right-field gap and was followed by Christine Knauer with a double, driving in the run from Findlay. A single from Amber Patton allowed Lever to score and put runners on the corners for the Bandits with two outs on the inning. A fly out to center from Rachel Folden retired the side but closed the deficit to one.
A double from Callahan in the bottom of the fifth scored the fourth run for the Pride as she drove in Krestchman, who had previously reached on a single. A ground-out to third from Flores ended the inning.
The top of the seventh saw the Bandits close the Pride lead to one with a lead-off solo home run from Friedman, but three fly-out retired the game and left the Pride with a 4-3 victory.
The two teams compete again tomorrow for the second of five games in the weekend series at 7:05 pm. On Saturday, the USSSA Florida Pride will host a retirement ceremony to honor the illustrious career of Jennie Finch in between the team’s two games of the day’s double-header. The first of the two games is slated to begin at 5:05 pm.
The USSSA Florida Pride joined the NPF as a franchise Team in November of 2009, operated by Florida Pride LLC. USSSA managed the Pride Team during 2009, culminating their inaugural season with a second place finish in the Championship Series. USSSA Florida Pride is sponsored by USSSA, the world’s largest amateur sports association, and is headquartered in Kissimmee, Florida.
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.
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.
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 News!