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updated: 8/21/2011 7:05 PM

Chicago Bandits win softball championship

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  • PHOTO BY DINA KWITThe Chicago Bandits celebrate winning the 2011 National Pro Fastpitch Championship Series on Sunday.

      PHOTO BY DINA KWITThe Chicago Bandits celebrate winning the 2011 National Pro Fastpitch Championship Series on Sunday.

Special to the Daily Herald

SULPHUR, La. -- From start to finish Sunday, the Chicago Bandits engineered a crowning performance.

Rookie leadoff hitter Megan Wiggins blasted a triple in the bottom of the first inning and scored on an error, and the Bandits never looked back en route to a 10-3 victory over the USSSA Florida Pride to sweep their best-of-three series and capture the National ProFastpitch Championship.

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The Bandits brought home the Cowles Cup, duplicating their 2008 championship campaign before a national television audience on ESPN2.

Bandits pitcher Monica Abbott was named the Most Valuable Player of the championship series. Abbott notched 3 wins with 30 strikeouts and a 2.17 ERA in 29 innings. In 2008, the Bandits' Nicole Trimboli earned MVP honors.

During the regular season, Abbott earned a share of the NPF Pitcher of the Year Award with Cat Osterman. Abbott finished the regular season with a 12-4 record and 140 strikeouts in 96 innings, including a perfect game.

The Bandits kept up the pressure in the first inning Sunday. Designated player Nikki Nemitz blasted 2-run double with the bases loaded off former Michigan teammate Jordan Taylor that increased the lead to 3-0 with one out.

After the Pride brought in Sarah Pauly to relieve Taylor, Shannon Doepking drove home Tammy Williams for a 4-0 lead. One batter later, Vicky Galindo shot a single up the middle to drive home Nemitz.

In the second, Abbott walked a pair of Pride batters. After a sacrifice bunt, veteran Natasha Watley delivered a 2-run single that cut the lead to 5-2.

The Bandits rebounded in the bottom of the second when Stacy May-Johnson reached on an error and Amber Patton scored for a 6-2 lead. Nemitz followed with an RBI single.

Wiggins showed some flashy glove work in the sixth when she made a diving catch in left field that helped ice the title.

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