Bandits return home with win

After a road trip during which they lost four of seven, the Bandits were eager to get back on their home turf Thursday night. Chicago responded with a run-rule victory, pulling away with eight runs in the final three innings to post a 10-2, six-inning win over the Aussie Peppers in the opener of a three-game series.

"We've been chomping at the bit to get back home," Coach Lauren Lappin said. "I really liked the way our team responded, especially tonight. Coming out and having huge production from the bottom of the lineup was really nice to see."

Kelly Barnhill got the start for Chicago and escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first inning, then worked around a leadoff single in the second. The Bandits struck for three in the bottom of the second when DiCarlo singled to drive in Svekis, with Taylor also scoring on the play after a throwing error.

Jessie Scroggins capped the frame with a double to score DiCarlo. The Peppers got two back in the third on a two-run double by Stacey McManus, but Barnhill limited the damage from there. Aleshia Ocasio pitched the last three innings without allowing a


With the Bandits clinging to a 3-2 lead, the game turned on two key plays in the fourth. The Peppers had a runner at first with one out, and Leigh Godfrey singled into right-center field. Pinch-runner Rachel Lack advanced to third on the play, but Godfrey was caught in a rundown between first and second when second baseman Abby Ramirez tagged her out. Meanwhile, Lack broke for the plate and Ramirez relayed to Gwen Svekis for an inning-ending double play.

In the bottom half, Chicago began to open up its advantage. Nadia Taylor hit a leadoff double to left and moved to third on a Brenna Moss single. Alyssa DiCarlo then hit a three-run homer, bringing the Bandits lead to four. The rookie had a career night, with an RBI single and a sacrifice fly in addition to the long ball for a total of five runs driven in.

"I've been getting more comfortable," DiCarlo said. "It's a different ballgame here than it is in college, and sometimes I make it bigger than it is, but I'm starting to settle in." After DiCarlo's homer in the fourth, Chicago continued to pile on. DiCarlo's sacrifice fly in the fifth plated the Bandits' seventh run, and DJ Sanders hit an infield single to drive in another.

Emily Crane's walk-off two-run double in the sixth ended the game via run rule.

"She's really freaking good at hitting," Lappin said of DiCarlo. "To see her explode tonight like that, she's been steady, she's given us a lot of production, but she hasn't had a night like tonight yet, so it was fun to see her do that."

The Bandits (23-7) and Peppers (9-24) continue their series Friday evening, with first pitch scheduled for 7:35 p.m. at Parkway Bank Sports Complex.

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