The Chicago Bandits are on a roll — and their Australian contingent are a big part of their resurgence.
Pitcher Ellen Roberts produced her best performance of the season so far to earn the win as the Bandits swept a double-header in National Fastpitch Pro action on Sunday.
Having lost four of their past five games, the Bandits needed wins against the Beijing Eagles to get their season back on track. They took an early lead in game one as Aussie Stacey McManus delivered a sacrifice fly in the second inning. That opened the floodgates for the Bandits, who cruised to an 8-0 victory.
With Roberts in the circle for game two, the Tigers wasted no time ensuring they would not be shut out this time. A hit and a throwing error led to an unearned run in the first inning, and it looked as if the nightcap would be a much tighter contest than the early game.
But Roberts shut down the Beijing offence after that, allowing just three hits and no walks in four innings, while striking out six to earn the first win of her NFP career after two losses. She was no doubt helped by a familiar catcher — Aussie Spirit teammate Taylah Tsitsikronis was behind the dish for the Bandits.
While it was her first professional win, Roberts is no stranger to success in the USA. As a college pitcher at the University of Memphis, she broke 25 school records, including most strikeouts in the university’s history, and most wins.
While Roberts kept the Tigers off the board, her Bandits teammates got busy. Sahvanna Jaquish led the offence, going 3-for-3 with three RBI and falling a home run short of the cycle.
Jaquish’s success at the plate carried over to her teammates, as Emily Crane and Alexa Peterson each launched their first home runs of the season and Emily Carosone collected three hits. Tsitsikronis also chipped in with the bat, getting a hit, an RBI and scoring a run.
Of Chicago’s other Australian players, Chelsea Forkin played first base in game two, while Rachel Lack and Samantha Poole were limited to pinch-hitting duties.
With the pair of wins, the Bandits improve to 9-5 on the season, including a stellar 9-2 mark at home. They’ll hit the road for the next set of games, however, and will not return to Rosemont until the end of June. Next up is a trip to Texas for a three-game series against the Scrap Yard Dawgs.