With a solid 2-1 win over the Akron Racers the Chicago Bandits begun to demonstrate they are clearly the team to beat in the 2006 NPF softball season. In case you didn’t know, last year the Akron Racers upset the Bandits in the Championship putting an unfortunate end to a very magical first season for the Bandits. With the win tonight Chicago improved their record to 14-3, while Akron slid into third place with an 13-8 record.
(Series currently in the Bandits favor 3 games to 0.)
So who are the Chicago Bandits? Since this is my first post on here about them, how about a quick history lesson. Last year the Chicago Bandits played their first season in the NPF (National Pro Fastpitch) Women’s Softball league. The Bandits lead by superstar Jennie Finch had a magical season, dominating series after series. Unfortunately, they lost the Championship to a very talented and dangerous Akron team.
This year the Bandits owner guarenteed a championship this year or the first game of 2007 would be free. So far things are looking pretty good despite Finch coming back from the birth of her son Ace, some injuries and lately Jennie Finch and 3B Vicky Galindo joining Team USA the past couple of weekends.
But, talent still abounds. On July 1st Pitcher Gina Oaks pitched a perfect game against the Michigan Ice. Other solid performers for the Bandits have been Catcher Selena Collins, Jaime Clark, Trina Peel, Mackenzie Vandergeest Jessica Sallinger and Amy Harre.
However, the league is full of Team USA players and former college standouts such as power hitter Oli Keohohou, Crystl Bustos, Jessica Merchant and Catalina Morris. Of course we can forget steller pitchers such as Christa Williams, Jocelyn Forest, Serena Settlemier and U. of Texas star Cat Osterman.
Seven teams this year are competting against not only each other but against Team USA, the USA World University Team, Team Venezuela, Michigan Ice (potentially joining the league next year), and Chinese Taipei. Last year China, Austrailia and Canada competed against the teams of the NPF. And if you think these international teams are easy wins, Chinese Taipei has been able to pull out some wins with amazing defense and key hitting. Team Venezuela have also been quite competitive as well.
The games are exciting and you get to see the worlds best softball players competiting four games a week. For more information I recommend visiting the NPF website at http://www.profastpitch.com or for more information on the Chicago Bandits you can goto http://www.chicagobandits.com.