Through six innings the Canadian Wild were in position to defeat the Chicago Bandits, with a 4-0 lead heading into the seventh inning. That was until the Bandits (7-3) rallied for eight runs in the final inning to completely stun the Wild (13-5) in a game that seemed to be theirs.
“We were underperforming all game and not having competitive at bats,” said Bandits coach Lauren Lappin. “I don’t even know how many runners we had in scoring position, so for us to come out and do what we did in the seventh inning is pretty remarkable.”
Wild’s coach Mark Smith decided to stick with his starter Sara Plourde in the final inning given her productiveness out of the pitching circle. After getting out of two situations with the bases loaded earlier in the game, Plourde finally folded in the seventh when Abbey Cheek cut the Wild’s lead in half with a two-run single.
“I thought Sara Plourde did a really good job … that’s her strongest outing of the year for sure,” said Smith.
That forced Smith to go to his bullpen and things just went downhill from there for the Wild. The Bandits went on to score six more runs in the inning on six hits, one walk, one hit by pitch, and a sacrifice fly.
The game entered a 10-minute delay after Smith brought in pitcher Morgan Rackel, who wasn’t on the Wild’s lineup card. The meeting between coaches and umpires took place on the field after Brenna Moss recorded the third out for the Bandits in the seventh. After the meeting, the Bandits came back out to replay Moss’ at-bat, who ended up flying out to centerfielder Larissa Franklin on the first pitch.
“Truth be told, if we wanted to close we could have brought a pitcher with more experience into the seventh, but we’ve got a couple of kids who are new to this level and are learning ways to compete, and the only way to find that out is by throwing them into the lion’s den.”
Haylie Wagoner earned the win out of relief for the Bandits after entering in the fourth inning. She held the Wild scoreless over four innings, allowing three hits, zero walks, and three strikeouts.
Plourde was handed her first loss on the season for the Wild. She surrendered four runs on six hits over six and two-thirds innings, striking out five.
“I wasn’t surprised to see Plourde come back out in the seventh just because she was fresh, and they were probably resting their pitchers from game two of the series,” said Lappin.
The Wild got on the board early when Shianne Brannan scored Joey Lye on an RBI fielder’s choice that went 6-3.
The Wild got a pair of home runs in the game. Victoria Rumph launched her first homer of the season in the second inning to put her club up 2-0. Erika Polidori made it a 4-0 ballgame when she connected on a two-run home run in the third inning.
Danielle O’Toole started the game for Chicago. She allowed five hits and four runs over three and two-thirds innings, striking out one.
The Bandits collected nine hits. Cheek and Jessie Scroggins each racked up multiple hits for Chicago. Cheek led the Bandits with three hits in four at-bats.
“I told them after the game all the things that I hated about the previous six innings, but we’re probably one of the best teams that has played in the NPF in that seventh inning,” said Lappin. “I’m a firm believer in that and it usually never matters what our deficit is entering the seventh for us to come back.”