With the National Professional Fastpitch season coming to a close at the end of the month, local woman Andi Williamson hope to end on a high note.
She wants to end with a league championship.
It won’t be easy, however, for her team, the Chicago Bandits.
After Friday night’s 3-0 loss to the first-place USSSA Pride, Chicago sits in second place in the NPF standings at 22-15. The Pride, the defending league champions, are 27-10. The Akron Racers are third at 16-20, while the expansion Pennsylvania Rebellion are last at 8-28.
Chicago and the USSSA Pride, an Orlando, Fla.-based team, were set to play Game 3 of their four-game series on Saturday in Rosemont, Ill. Game 4 is Sunday.
After the weekend series, the Bandits have eight regular season games left — Aug. 8, 9, 11 and 12 at Pennsylvania and Aug. 13, 14, 16 and 17 at home against Akron.
The post-season playoffs and championship series are slated to be played Aug. 20-23 in Hoover, Ala.
Williamson, a Harts native and 2009 graduate of Chapmanville Regional High School, is having another good summer with the Bandits in her second season with the pro team.
Williamson is 3-2 on the mound with a 1.59 ERA. She has pitched 39.2 innings and has allowed 24 runs (only 12 earned) and 41 hits with 22 walks and 22 strikeouts. Williamson has appeared in nine games and has eight starts.
The former Marshall University pitcher is one of seven hurlers on the Chicago roster. The others are: Ellen Renfroe (2-4, 1.57 ERA); Estela Pinon (0-1, 1.97 ERA); Kirsten Verdun (1-0, 1.53 ERA); Michelle Gascoigne (4-3, 1.09 ERA); Monica Abbott (4-3, 0.91 ERA); and Sara Moulton (6-0, 1.47 ERA). Abbott is a former Team USA member in the Olympics. Softball, however, is no longer an Olympic sport.
The Pride beat the Bandits on Friday behind the pitching of Cat Osterman, who fired a three-hit shutout. She fanned 11 and walked just one.
Chicago won Game 1 of the series with the Pride on Thursday with a 5-2 victory. Abbott notched the win as she allowed two runs on nine hits over seven innings while striking out eight and walking one. Tammy Williams, Kristen Butler and Alisa Goler had two hits each to lead the Bandits.
Chicago took three of five games recently against the Rebellion at Washington, Pa. The Bandits won 1-0 on Tuesday after losing 3-1 on Monday. Last Sunday, Chicago won 6-4 over Pennsylvania behind a complete-game performance within the circle by Williamson. Back on July 26, the Bandits won 17-1. The Rebellion had opened the series with a 6-1 win on July 25.
Williamson was the starting and winning pitcher in last Sunday’s victory over the Rebellion. She went all seven innings and gave up four runs (only one earned) and five hits with four strikeouts and four walks. She tossed 119 pitches and allowed two home runs.
Williamson pitched in relief in the July 25 game, tossing 1.2 innings and yielding two runs on one hit (a homer) with three walks and three strikeouts.
Williamson was last year’s NPF Rookie of the Year. She played in Japan during the spring in the Japanese Professional Women’s Softball League. She is expected to return to Japan following the end of the NPF season.