Two-time National Pro Fastpitch MVP Stacy May-Johnson is voiding her retirement plans and joining the Chicago Bandits for the final month of the 2011 season.
"When Stacy expressed interest in returning to the Bandits, I immediately felt it was a no brainer," said Bandits owner Bill Sokolis. "She's a two-time MVP on the field and a great presence in the locker room and with the fans. Our offense just got an immediate upgrade and she will provide a strong impact in the lineup heading into playoffs."
The Bandits also announced Tuesday they release injured catcher Rachel Folden and pitcher Taryne Mowatt.
May-Johnson finished her professional career with two MVPs, an Offensive Player of the Year award and was the consummate leadoff hitter for the Bandits. After five seasons with the Bandits, the team retired her jersey (5) along with star pitcher Jennie Finch in 2010, and May-Johnson returned to the University of Iowa to work as an assistant coach. After making the Team USA roster this year, she postponed her retirement.
While earning her second MVP award in 2010, May-Johnson batted .333 with 48 hits, 33 runs and 12 home runs for the Bandits. She also turned in 26 RBIs and drew 14 walks while playing third base for the Bandits. Her batting average and home runs were good for first place among NPF batters and her RBIs were second only to teammate Rachel Folden (32).
Most recently, May-Johnson competed with Team USA in the 2011 World Cup of Softball. In six games with the women's national team, May-Johnson batted .353 with 6 hits, 2 home runs and 7 RBIs.
May-Johnson finished the tournament with a .706 slugging percentage and a .450 on-base percentage. Team USA was crowned Champions of the 6th World Cup of Softball.
Although the Bandits released Folden after she was placed on injured reserve with a hand injury, team officials also said the club plas on re-signing Folden for the 2012 season. Prior to suffering the injury, Folden was hitting .238 and was tied for the league lead with 4 home runs and 11 RBIs to accompany a .407 on-base percentage. Last season Folden was named the 2010 Offensive Player of the Year in NPF and the co-winner of the Wilson Home Run Trophy.
Mowatt closed with a record of 0-2 on the season in 14 innings pitched. She finished with a 4.00 ERA, 7 strikeouts and 16 walks.
The Bandits will be collecting new and used gloves, along with other baseball/softball equipment as donations for Chicago area youth softball and baseball teams during the "Final 8" home stand. The Final 8 games of the season get under way at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Rosemont Stadium when the Bandits take on the Akron Racers. Chicago follows the Akron series with a four-game set against the USSSA Pride, beginning on Thursday, Aug. 11.