The Chicago Bandits entered Saturday's regular-season finale looking to even up their two-game series against the Carolina Diamonds.
The same teams face off against each other starting Thursday in the first round of the NPF Championship Series.
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The playoff prelude went in favor of the Bandits, who claimed a 5-1 victory in The Ballpark at Rosemont.
Nikki Nemitz (7-7) started for the Bandits, who were looking to end the season on a high note in front of a sell-out crowd of 1,642.
The Bandits opened the scoring in the third inning as Alisa Goler hit a 2-run home run. Amanda Williams increased the lead to 3-0 later in the inning with an RBI single that scored Kristen Butler. Shannon Doepking's sacrifice bunt gave the Bandits a 4-0 lead as Tammy Williams scored.
GiOnna DiSalvatore cut the lead to 4-1 with a solo home run in the top of the fourth. The Diamonds threatened later in the inning after loading the bases, but the Bandits recovered to get out of the inning with a 3-run lead.
"The defense made some great plays," said Nemitz. "They were able help get me out of some jams."
Morgan Melloh replaced starter Danielle Spaulding to start the fourth inning for the Diamonds. Melloh gave up a solo home run to Megan Wiggins in the sixth inning to complete the scoring.