The Chicago Bandits scored three runs in the 10th inning – two of them on errors – to eke out a 5-4 victory over the Akron Racers Saturday night at Firestone Stadium in Akron, Ohio.
With the score tied at 2-all, Megan Wiggins, who started the inning on second base per international tie-breaker rules, moved to third following Danielle Zymkowitz’s sacrifice bunt. Wiggins scored the first run when she beat Nicole Trimboli’s throw home on an Alisa Goler ground ball.
Kristen Shifflett, pinch-running for Rachel Folden, advanced to third on the play. Shifflett scored the second run, and Goler went to third, when catcher Roya St. Clair made an errant throw to second trying to catch Goler stealing.
The final Bandits run came after Jamee Juarez flied out to right. Sharonda McDonald missed her cut-off players on the throw in from the outfield, and Goler scored as the ball dribbled in past St. Clair.
The Racers got two runs back off reliever Monica Abbott in their half of the inning. Lisa Modglin’s one-out triple scored St. Clair from second base. Modglin scored minutes later on a passed ball.
The rally was short-lived, as Nicole Pauly went down swinging and McDonald lined to short to end the game.
The Bandits had led 1-0 going into the bottom of the seventh inning, thanks to Dorian Shaw’s first NPF home run in the second. Nikki Nemitz, who went seven and two-thirds innings for the Bandits, allowed only two hits while striking out six over the first six innings.
However, a single by Racers’ third baseman Kelley Montalvo and a double by Trimboli, pinch-hitting for Courtney Bures, tied the game at 1-1.
Nemitz likely thought she had cinched her third victory of the year in the top of the eighth. With Juarez and Goler on base, Nemitz hit what seemed to be a right-field home run off relief pitcher Morgan Childers for a 4-1 lead.
Racers manager Jake Schumann appealed the call. After a short conference, the umpiring crew decided the ball had bounced over the right field fence and not cleared it on the fly. Nemitz went back to second with a ground-rule double and Juarez was put back on third. Only Alisa Goler’s run stood, which gave the Bandits a 2-1 advantage.
Pauly re-knotted the score in the Racers’ half of the eighth with her first home run of the year, over the left field fence. Abbott relieved Nemitz two batters later and was credited with the victory, raising her record to 5-1.
Childers, who took over for starting pitcher Kristina Thorson in the eighth inning, absorbed her second loss of the season.
The victory is Chicago’s fourth in a row and keeps the Bandits in first place in the National Pro Fastpitch with a 7-3 record.
The Bandits and Racers conclude their four-game series in Akron with a doubleheader Sunday. The first game is scheduled to start at noon Eastern Time, with the second game following at 2:05 p.m. ET. Live stats for both games will be available at www.profastpitch.com.