The USSSA Pride have been an unstoppable juggernaut this season. Prior to its recent series with the Bandits, the Pride was 29-6 and with a seven-game cushion at the top spot in the NPF standings. But the Pride has looked unbeatable in several prior seasons, only to have its hopes dashed by late surging teams like the Chicago Bandits.
Those painful memories of past seasons came streaming back this week as the formerly imposing Pride lost a two-game series and were swept by the Chicago Bandits. Could there be a chink appearing in the Pride's armor late in the season again?
The Bandits went down early 0-1 but rallied in the 7th inning with a bunt, a double and a walk-off single by Danielle Zymkowitz to beat the Pride and complete the sweep. The USSSA Pride put its best pitcher statistically over the past two seasons, Jordan Taylor, in the circle. This loss was Taylor's first since 2014!
But as interesting as the Pride's pitching performance was, the Bandits was even more interesting. Chicago started Australian national player Kaia Parnaby, who pitched a complete game with 1 run and 3 hits. Parnaby had a quality start against the most potent offense in the NPF. Her arm was crucial to the Bandits winning effort.
It sure will be interesting to see how the Australian players improve this season (looks like the pitching sure is improving!) and to see how the Bandits fare late in the season. Especially against the #1 USSSA Pride.