Bandits win 5-2
The Chicago Bandits bounced back from Wednesday's no-hitter to secure a win in the series finale against the Scrap Yard Dawgs. Kaia Parnaby delivered a quality start to earn her third win of the season as the Bandits earned a 5-2 victory in a rain-delayed affair on Thursday night at The Ballpark at Rosemont.
Chicago (22-19) jumped on the board against Scrap Yard's Morgan Melloh, a familiar position for the team during the 2017 campaign. The Bandits have scored first on 12 occasions following a loss.
"(We had) much better offense today," Bandits head coach Sharonda McDonald said. "This is what I want to see form the team -- we get a lot of confidence ... and when we score first, we gain confidence from that and we do tend to play a little bit better."
Natalie Hernandez's sacrifice fly to right scored Emily Carosone for the game's first run.
The Dawgs (29-13) quickly negated the Bandits' early tally when Meagan May-Whitley drove in a run in the second. However, Scrap Yard's efforts were limited to just the one run, in part thanks to Sahvanna Jaquish's sound catching. The rookie backstop sits in fourth place among all NPF catchers with a 29 percent caught stealing percentage.
After knocking Melloh out of the game in the second, the Bandits surged ahead when Jaquish uncorked a two-run double to the left-center gap.
"I just try to do what I can for the team," Jaquish said. "I'm seeing the ball well at the plate and I'm glad we could get those runs across because Scrap Yard is a really good team."
With a four-run cushion in place, Parnaby continued to cruise in the circle. The Aussie southpaw was in line for her third complete game of the season before running into trouble in the seventh when the first two batters reached. However, second-year right-hander Shelby Turnier shut it down in relief to earn her first save of the season.
Parnaby, who collected her third win in four attempts, held the Dawgs to just one earned run on five hits, striking out five in the process.
"As long as we play good defense behind her, (Parnaby) gives us a chance to win and that's all we ask from all of our pitchers -- just give us a chance to win and let our offense do what it does."
The Bandits will travel to San Marcos, Texas, for a critical two-game set against the Texas Charge, beginning at 4:05 p.m. CST on Saturday night at Bobcat Softball Stadium. Chicago currently holds a 2.5 game lead over the Charge in the league standings as the 2017 NPF regular season enters the its final two weeks.
"I think our whole team knows what's on the line for every game that we play, how important it is going into this last stretch, how we end up in the top four," McDonald said. "We're sitting good right now, but we can't rest on that, so we know that these games are big."