Against All Odds: Chicago Wins 2016 Pro Title

Bandits Steal 2016 NPF Crown from Former Teammate Monica Abbott

By TSC Analyst/Contributor DANIEL URBAN

TUSCALOOSA  No one picked the Chicago Bandits to win the title this year.  I didn't.  You didn't.  No one did.  Most people picked the Scrapyard Dawgs behind #1 superstar pitcher Monica Abbott, and if not them surely the USSSA Pride.  But no one expected the newly Abbott-less Bandits to win.

But win they did!

The Bandits first miracle was to get by Abbott and the Dawgs in a semifinal three-game series.  As you recall, Abbott left the Bandits for the Dawgs after winning the championship last year, securing a record $1 million contract in the process.


There is no doubt about it—Monica Abbott was destroyed in her first playoff game as the ace pitcher for the Dawgs. The Bandits hit back-to-back home runs off Abbott in the first inning and wound up with a devastating 11-2 victory.

But anyone who thought Abbott was finished was gravely mistaken.  She came back with a vengeance in game 2, pitching 4 innings of 1-run 1-hit and 5-strikeout ball en route to a 10-1 Scrapyard Dawgs victory.  Sara Driesenga pitched 1 inning of relief with the Dawgs up 10-1 to secure the victory.

The two playoff games in this series were basically mirror images of each other.  The Bandits mercy-ruled the Dawgs in game 1, and the Dawgs returned the favor in kind versus the Bandits in game 2.

Abbott was backed by a dominating offensive effort which included 10 hits, 10 RBI, and 2 home runs.

The Bandits gave the start to pitcher Michelle Gascoigne who had a day she would probably prefer to forget.  Gascoigne only lasted 3.2 innings and gave up 7 hits and 5 earned runs. 

The Bandits did the impossible in game 3, defeating Abbott and the Dawgs 2-1 to advance to the Championship Series against the USSSA Pride.

Abbott played decently well.  She pitched all 7 innings and struck out 9, but she allowed 6 hits and 2 earned runs.  Unfortunately for the superstar, the Dawg offense was not enough to overcome the 2 runs.

Abbott pitched all 3 games of this series, and pitched pretty well aside from an abysmal performance in game 1.  But after a bounce-back 2nd game, she was edged out in game 3 and now has to live with falling far short of expectations in the first year of her $1 million contract.

The Bandits gave Angel Bunner the start in the circle, but she was pulled in the 3rd inning after giving up a run.  Shelby Turnier finished the final 4.1 innings of the game and pitched a 4-inning shutout while striking out 6.

The Bandits offense got the job donenot with power hitting, but with consistent and timely hitting.  Catcher Taylor Edwards and designated hitter Amanda Kamekona scored the runs to bring home the victory.

In the 3-game Championship Series, the Pride jumped out first with a game 1 win and looked to be in position to lock up the title, but the Bandits came back to win the next two games in a row and do the unthinkable, winning it all despite very long odds.  The Bandits won with a home run from Jill Barrett in game 2 to win 1-0, and won with back-to-back solo shots from Taylor Edwards and Brittany Cervantes to win the decisive final game 2-1. 

Congrats to our 2016 Cowles Cup champion Chicago Bandits!! Read more.