On a blisteringly hot June day, when the Ballpark at Rosemont topped 100 degrees on the field an announced crowd of 1,406 witnessed an epic pitching duel, one of the last possible games, between 2008 Olympian teammates Monica Abbott(4-1, 0.24 ERA) and Cat Osterman(4-1, 0.85 ERA).
The Ballpark at Rosemont is a 1,600-seat stadium, and the only softball-only facility in the United States.
As the season began, Osterman confirmed to espnW that she intends to retire from competition at the conclusion of her upcoming National Pro Fastpitch season with the Florida-based USSSA Pride. The announcement came on the pitcher’s 30th birthday.
The Bandits threatened in the first inning after Eri Yamada and Alisa Goler both singled. Tammy Williams was then walked to load the bases. However, the Bandits failed to convert any runs as Osterman recorded a strikeout to end the inning.
Pitching continued to be the dominant factor throughout the second, third, and fourth innings, keeping the game scoreless. Both teams left runners stranded on base as Abbott and Osterman continued to consistently strike out batters.
The Bandits finally broke through and scored in the bottom of the fifth inning. Megan Wiggins was walked and Yamada’s RBI double to left center field allowed her to score, making the score 1-0 heading into the sixth.
Yamada, in her first season with the Bandits, leads the NPF with 12 RBI's.
Eri Yamada, in her first year with the Bandits, leads the NPF with 12 RBIs.
The Bandits threatened again in the sixth after a fielder’s choice allowed Patton to get on base, she then stole second but was left stranded.
Abbott struck out three consecutive batters in the top of the seventh to end the game and improve her record to 4-1 this season. She recorded 12 strikeouts on the day, bringing her season total to 50.
Osterman threw 11 strikeouts, improving her season total to 61. Her record now stands at 4-1 this season as well.
Abbott and the Bandits ultimately prevailed with a 1-0 victory and took the series three games to one while securing first place in the NPF standings.
Her feelings about the game seemed to be reflected in a tweet sent some time after the game: monicaabbott RT @Fit_Motivator: "Your talent is God's gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God."
On Tuesday night, the Bandits play an exhibition game on behalf of the Les Turner ALS Foundation, then look to stay atop the NPF standings as they travel to Akron, Ohio this week for a four game series against the Racers, starting Thursday.
They are home on July 3 to face the NY/NJ Comets, a new team for 2013. The name “Comets” came from the Kenosha Comets, selected to honor the women who played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL).