Pride Down Bandits To Get Within One Win Of NPF Title
ROSEMONT, Ill. – Following a Thursday night performance that saw the USSSA Pride's pitching staff dominate the offense of the Chicago Bandits, it was the Pride's offense that stole the show on Friday in Game 2 of the 2019 NPF Championship Series. Behind nine hits and five runs, the Pride took down the Bandits, 5–4, at Parkway Bank Sports Complex to get within one win of the 2019 Cowles Cup.
After Pride starter Keilani Ricketts made quick work of the Bandits in the top of the first inning, Brittany Cervantes got the scoring started for USSSA off of Chicago starter Aleshia Ocasio. Cervantes wasted little time and cranked a two-run home run off of Ocasio to give the Pride an early 2–0 lead.
Ricketts got into trouble in the second when the Bandits got two runners on base, but she stranded both runners and escaped the jam.
But the Bandits broke through in the third when NPF Player of the Year Amanda Chidester blasted a solo home run to give Chicago its first run of both the game and the series against the Pride. With USSSA's lead narrowed to one run, Brenna Moss reached base and then NPF Rookie of the Year Abbey Cheek took Ricketts yard to grant Chicago a 3–2 lead.
That lead didn't last for long, however, as heads-up base running from Sydney Romero led to a run for the Pride in the third following a double from Megan Wiggins. A Bandits pitching change brought Haylie Wagner into the game, but a wild pitch from Wagner soon followed and allowed Wiggins to score from third to give the Pride a 4–3 lead.
USSSA added to its lead in the fourth when Romero dropped in a run-scoring single to make the score 5–3 in favor of the Pride. The Bandits would add a run in the seventh, but Ricketts and the Pride eventually shut the door on the regular-season champions and collected the win.
Ricketts earned the victory on Friday after delivering a quality performance, while Ocasio took the loss.
The two teams will face off again on Saturday in Game 3 of the best-of-five series with the first pitch scheduled for 8 p.m. ET. USSSA will have a chance to wrap up the series and win the team's second straight Cowles Cup with a victory over Chicago on Saturday.