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.
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.