Porter and Parnaby lead Spirit to series win against Chicago

Stacey Porter's power hitting helped the Aussie Spirit win a series against the Bandits in Chicago. Picture: Dina Kwit, courtesy of National Pro Fastpitch

Porter and Parnaby lead Spirit to series win against Chicago

The Aussie Spirit showed just how much they have improved by winning their National Pro Fastpitch series against the Chicago Bandits in Chicago over the weekend.

The Spirit, who lost all nine early-season games against Chicago, put all that behind them with a great team performance, backed by some outstanding individual efforts.

The influx of several players who were unavailable in the early part of the NPF season has clearly boosted the Spirit, who have jumped up to third place in the standings and now have a 13-26 win-loss record.

The next week will show just how much they have improved, as the Spirit take on top team the USSSA Pride in a six-game “home” series at either Kansas City or St Joseph, Missouri.

NPF Game 37: Aussie Spirit 4, Chicago Bandits 1

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History is made as the Aussie Spirit beat the Chicago Bandits for the first time.

Stacey Porter’s a bases-clearing triple was the key hit as the Aussie Spirit earned their first victory over the Chicago Bandits in Rosemont, Illinois.

The game was scoreless through four innings as Spirit starting pitcher Ellen Roberts and her Chicago counterpart Ally Carda were dominant.

But the Spirit offence came to life in the fifth inning. Carmelle Sorensen led off with a single, was sacrificed to second by Stacey McManus and scored on Melinda Weaver’s RBI single.

A pitching change by Chicago did nothing to stop the Spirit charge. Lacey Waldrop took over from Carda and was greeted by a base hit from Chelsea Forkin. Leigh Godfrey then reached on a fielder’s choice, setting the scene for Porter to clear the bases with her triple to left-centre field.

That fifth-inning onslaught was all the offence the Spirit would need as Roberts and reliever Jordan Taylor kept a tight rein on the Chicago hitters. Roberts allowed just four hits and one walk in four scoreless innings, with three strikeouts.

The lone Bandits run came in the sixth inning via an RBI groundout by Emily Carosone. That was the only run Taylor allowed in three innings, in which she struck out four and walked two.

Porter was named the Vaultz Lock It Up! Player of the Game.

NPF Game 38: Chicago Bandits 5, Aussie Spirit 2

npfThe first game of the double-header went to Chicago, powered by an outstanding pitching perfomance by Shelby Turnier, who kept the Aussie Spirit off the board through five innings.

By the time Turnier came out of the game the Bandits had a 3-0 lead. But with reliever Aleshia Ocasio pitching, the Spirit hit back with a single by Leigh Godfrey and a two-run homer by Stacey Porter.

Another Chicago pitching change brought Paige Lowary to the circle, and she shut down any chance of a Spirit comeback.

The Bandits collected nine hits for the game, three of them by shortstop Jessie Scroggins.

Porter had two hits, including her home run, to take her NPF batting average to .438.

NPF Game 39: Aussie Spirit 3, Chicago Bandits 0

Kaia Parnaby, who pitched for the Bandits in the 2017 season, dominated her former teammates in the back half of the double-header.

Parnaby, who earned her second victory in as many starts, scattered four hits and didn’t allow a run across six innings of work. She struck out six before turning the game over to Jordan Taylor, who collected her second save after a shutdown seventh inning.

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Aussie Spirit players enjoy the victory.

Chicago pitcher Rachele Fico matched Parnaby pitch-for-pitch through three innings. But the Spirit broke the deadlock in the fourth as Leigh Godfrey led off with a walk, was sacrificed to second and scored on Jade Wall’s RBI single.

Helped by some sloppy Chicago defence, the Spirit added to their lead in the fifth inning. Belinda White walked, and pinch runner Verity Long-Droppert went to third on Melinda Weaver’s single. Long-Droppert and Weaver both scored on infield errors to give the Spirit a 3-0 lead that would hold up for the rest of the game.

Parnaby was named the Vaultz Lock It Up! Player of the Game.