The Aussie Spirit came within a whisker of ending the Chicago Bandits’ winning streak in their latest National Pro Fastpitch league series.
In the first game of a double-header in Chicago on Monday morning (AEST), the Spirit outhit the Bandits 9-3 and did not allow an earned run, but still came away with a 2-1 loss.
It was the closest any team has come to beating the Bandits, who have begun their season with 13 straight wins.
The Spirit have the rest of the week off before beginning a six-game series against the Cleveland Comets in Kansas City.
Chicago Bandits 8, Aussie Spirit 2
The Bandits went to work early, with a grand slam by Kyistyn Sandberg sparking a five-run first inning.
The Aussies were kept off the scoreboard until the sixth inning, when Stacey McManus singled and scored on a Taylah Tsitsikronis home run.
It was the fifth home run of the season for Tsitsikronis, tied for the league lead with Chicago’s Emily Carsone.
Amelia Cudicio was the best of the Spirit pitchers, not allowing a hit or a walk while striking out four in 2.2. innings of scoreless relief.
Game 26: Chicago Bandits 2, Aussie Spirit 1
In the best performance against the Bandits, the Aussie Spirit did most things right but still came away with a loss.
Nine hits to three, and with pitchers not giving up an earned run, usually translates to a win. But the Bandits scratched out two unearned runs in the second inning and made them count, while the Spirit failed to capitalise on many scoring opportunities.
The Spirit’s lone run came in the second inning, as Clare Warwick singled, advance to second on Chelsea Robinson’s bunt and scored when Michelle Cox singled and the Chicago outfielder misplayed the ball.
After that there was a succession of base-runners by the Spirit but they all remained stranded.
Cox led the offence with three hits. Jessica Torpey had two hits, and four players – Warwick, Robinson, Tamieka Whitefield (double) and Taylah Tsitsikronis – each had one.
Starting pitcher Jordan Taylor allowed three hits and four walks, striking out five, and did not give up an earned run. Reliever Taylor-Paige Stewart did not allow a base-runner.
Game 27: Chicago Bandits 8, Aussie Spirit 0
Three Chicago pitchers combined for a perfect game as the Bandits continued their impressive unbeaten run.
In the second game of the double-header, the Spirit hitters were kept off base by pitchers Shelby Turnier, Aleshia Ocasio and Paige Lowary.
A three-run home run by Sammy Marshall and a three-hit game by Jessie Scroggins provided plenty of offensive support to the combined effort in the circle.