Tension was through the roof as the USSSA Pride completed a sweep of the Chicago Bandits Sunday night with a 7-4 victory at the ESPN Wide World of Sports.
Both teams saw multiple players ejected for hitting batters and coaches ejected for arguing with umpires about the player ejections.
The Bandits (16-16) took a 2-0 lead early in the first after Caitlin Lowe committed an error, allowing both Tammy Williams and Megan Wiggins to score. Amber Patton scored on another error, giving the Bandits a 3-0 lead.
The Pride (20-11) battled back in the bottom of the first and captialized on the same kinds of fielding problems that they had just experienced. Natasha Watley reached first on an error by Bandits second baseman Vicky Galindo. Caitlin Lowe singled and Jessica Mendoza hit a sacrifice fly, putting both Watley and Lowe in scoring position. Kristyn Sandberg singled, bringing both runners in and closing the Bandits lead to one run. Mendoza tied the game with a two-out homerun in the bottom of the third.
Things heated up when Lauren Lappin doubled in the bottom of the fourth inning to bat in Kelsey Bruder, giving the Pride the lead, 4-3. Lappin would score on the next play on a RBI single from Watley. The Bandits all but fell apart after that, replacing pitcher Nikki Nemitz with Chandra Bell, who immediately allowed Watley to reach second on a wild pitch. Bell then walked Lowe, Mendoza reached first and Watley scored on another error by Galindo.
The Bandits frustration with the inning reached a peak when Sandberg was hit by a pitch from Bell. Both Bell and catcher Shannon Doepking were then ejected from the game, and, after arguing with the umpire, the Bandits coach was also ejected.
Michelle Moses came in to pitch for the Bandits and walked Kelly Kretschman, which brought in Lowe to make the score 7-3 Pride at the end of the fourth.
Things between the two teams seemed to have calmed down through the fifth inning, but heated back up in the top of the sixth when Pride pitcher Brittany Mack hit Megan Wiggins. Mack and Sandberg were ejected, along with Pride coach Beth Torina.
Cat Osterman came in to pitch for the Pride and allowed an RBI single by Alisa Goler to bring the score to 7-4.
Mack (5-3) was awarded the win, allowing nine hits and four runs with eight strikeouts. Nemitz (5-7) allowed seven hits, six runs and struck out two in the loss.
The Pride will face the Akron Racers starting on Thursday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports. Check out USSSAPride.com for a live stream and updates from the game.
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!