Photo by Dina Kwit
ROSEMONT – Chicago Bandits pitcher Monica Abbott was probably the most nervous person on the field in Sunday’s Japanese Pro League semifinals game.
Why you ask? Because it started raining.
But unlike what happened in August, Abbott was able to complete her mission and helped the Toyota Motor Corporation win its third consecutive championship as they defeated Renesas Takasaki by a final score of 1-0 in 10 innings. The title for Team Toyota marks the first time in JPL history that a team has won three consecutive titles.
Due to JPL rules, the semifinal game that was started on Sunday and subsequently called due to rain was wiped completely off the books, meaning Abbott and Team Toyota would have to win twice on Monday to claim the historic championship.
After winning the semifinal game and getting through regulation unscathed, Abbott and Team Toyota would have to win the championship game in extra innings.
Team Toyota was the home team for the game and were forced to the edge of their seats on several occasions in the extra frames as Renesas Takasaki would put a runner on third base in the eighth, ninth and tenth innings. But Abbott and the defense held strong and kept the game scoreless giving Toyota a chance to win the game in the 10th.
After getting runners on first and third with no outs, Team Toyota’s Manna Atsumi hit a high bouncer to third and the throw was late allowing Haruka Fujino to come in and score the game-winning run.
Yukkio Ueno, who was the pitcher that defeated Team USA in the 2008 Olympic Games, took the loss in the championship game despite allowing only one unearned run.
In the game, Abbott pitched ten innings and allowed only one hit in the game en route to being named the playoff series Most Valuable Player.
For additional information on the Bandits visit them on the web at www.chicagobandits.com/ or call the office at (877) 722-6348.
About Chicago Bandits
Since 2005, the Chicago Bandits have been members of National Pro Fastpitch. Located in the Chicagoland area, the Bandits provide an opportunity for female fastpitch players to further their careers at a professional level. The roster has included such names as Jennie Finch, Stacy May and Monica Abbott. The two-time NPF Champions play at The Ballpark at Rosemont, the only stadium in the country built for a women’s professional team.
About National Pro Fastpitch
National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) is headquartered in Nashville, Tenn. The league, created to give elite female fastpitch players the opportunity to pursue a professional career in their chosen sport, has operated since 1997 under the names of Women’s Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Women’s Pro Softball League (WPSL). NPF is the Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball in the category of women’s fastpitch softball and has been since 2002.