ROSEMONT, Ill. - The Chicago Bandits defeated the USSSA Pride, 3-2, on Friday night in game one of the best-of-three series for the 2013 National Pro Fastpitch Championship.

The Bandits had an early lead in the game after Eri Yamada hit a triple with one out to ignite the Bandits offense. Nerissa Myers followed with a ground ball to short that was thrown wildly by Natasha Watley, allowing Yamada to score for the Bandits and Myers to advance to third.

The Pride finally put a run on the board to tie the game in the top of the fifth inning, as Watley was driven in by a single to left field by Kelly Kretschman.

Kretschman would etch the scoreboard again for the Pride in the seventh inning to give the Pride a lead, as she singled in pinch runner Nikia Williams.

The Bandits went up to bat in the home half of the seventh inning down 2-1. Keilani Ricketts walked Tammy Williams to start off the frame. Ricketts came back from walking Williams to strike out pinch hitter Danielle Zymkowitz. Amber Patton followed with a groundball hit to third. Haruna Sakamoto had a throwing error to first, allowing Williams a chance to score. After Pride catcher Megan Willis lost track of the ball at homeplate, Patton made it all the way around the bases to score the game-winning run.

Monica Abbott pitched all seven innings for the Bandits and was consistently pitching at speeds in the 70’s, hitting a peak speed of 74 mph.

The Bandits improved their record to 37-12 with the win over the Pride. The two teams will play again tomorrow at 5 p.m. ET in the second game of the best-of-three series. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN2.

USSSA Pride Tops Akron Racers to Advance to NPF Championship Series

ROSEMONT, Ill. - The USSSA Pride defeated the Akron Racers, 2-1, in the second round of the 2013 National Pro Fastpitch Championship to advance to play the Chicago Bandits in the best of three NPF Championship Series.

The Pride scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the fourth inning after an RBI by Megan Willis scored Lauren Lappin from third. Kristyn Sandberg was thrown out at home after trying to score from second to end the inning.

The Racers tallied their first hit in the top of the sixth inning with a triple from Ayumi Karino. With runners on first and third, Charlotte Morgan hit a ground ball to third and an error on the play allowed Karino to score, tying the game at 1-1.

Heading into the bottom of the sixth with the score knotted, the Pride threatened the Racers with runners on second and third base, putting two in scoring position with only one out. Lisa Norris shut down the Pride and ended the threat by striking out Francesca Enea. The inning ended with a Willis ground out.

In the top of the seventh, the Racers put two on but failed to produce, as Pride ace Cat Osterman struck out two and a coaxed a fly ball to right field by Kelley Montalvo.

Ashley Charters led off the bottom of the seventh with a walk for the Pride and moved all the way to third as the Racers errored on a Natasha Watley bunt. Watley rounded first and eventually was caught in a  rundown between first and second. With Racers defense distracted by Watley, Charters used the opportunity to score the game winning run for the Pride.

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