Bandits Shock Pride, Take 2011 NPF Championship
All season long, the presumed winner of the 2011 National Pro Fastpitch Championships would be the Florida Pride. Not only did the Pride win the Cowles Cup last year, but its roster was stacked with standout players, including former WSF President Jessica Mendoza, who was recently named 2011 NPF Regular Season Player of the Year. But, the Chicago Bandits thought otherwise and came to Sulphur, La., to show exactly that.
The Bandits made quick work of its Goliath-like opponent on Sunday, striking early and often in a 10-3 rout of the Pride, winning the best-of-three series in a two-game sweep. A national audience on ESPN2 watched Bandit Megan Wiggins go deep, hit a triple, and make a huge game-changing diving catch in left field. Meanwhile, the Pride struggled on the mound, using three pitchers on the day. Starter Jordan Taylor pitched only a third of an inning and gave up five runs before being pulled for Sarah Pauly, who was replaced later by Danielle Lawrie.
Monica Abbott was on the mound for the Bandits, playing like someone who hadn't pitched all but two innings during the four-day stretch of tournament. A tournament when the heat index on the field rarely lowered below triple digits, even as the hour approached midnight.
"Monica may be the most mentally tough girl I've ever met," Bandits catcher Shannon Doepking said. "She would have died out on the field for us. So, whether heat, sunshine, rain, whatever it is, she's going to give you everything she's got."
More on the tournament here.