In a 10-0 blanking of the expansion Dallas Charge, Monica Abbott added to the remarkable pitching legacy of the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) Chicago Bandits. Throwing the fourth perfect game in franchise history (just five days shy of her 30th birthday), along with her second as a member of the Bandits, she recorded 11 strikeouts as the Bandits improved to 23-10 on the season.
The fans at The Ballpark at Rosemont (the only ballpark built for a professional women’s team) have been spoiled by Abbott’s heroics for many seasons. Akin to quarterback Sami Grisafe’s legendary career in women’s football with the Chicago Force, and Elena Delle Donne’s growing popularity with the WNBA’s Chicago Sky, Abbott can lay claim to being part of the Windy City’s female sports icons.
Although Abbott, who is in her fifth season with the Bandits, was modest in proclaiming that she does not keep track of such statistical milestones, the reality was that Abbott was remarkably close on three separate occasions this season. Of note, she had thrown three complete game shutouts, in which she had allowed two hits or less during each win this season.
One of her two-hit shutouts was broadcast nationally on the CBS Sports Network, taking place against the Pennsylvania Rebellion on July 6. In addition, she enjoyed a complete game shutout against the Charge back on June 22.
With a season high crowd in attendance, it only added to the momentum. Successfully striking out the entire side in the first inning, the Bandits were dominant in the bottom half of the inning. Connecting off Charge pitcher Vanessa Stokes for four runs, the 4-0 lead only added to Abbott’s confidence. Megan Blank, who went 3-for-3 on the day, contributed the first RBI of the game, while catcher Taylor Edwards stroked a double that allowed two more runners to cross home plate.
A pair of Bandits experienced special milestones, as home runs were the prevailing theme. Kailee Cuico launched her first career home run with the franchise. Of note, she had been signed as a free agent after a release from the Akron Racers. Brenna Moss would hit a two-run home run, the first of her NPF career, making the score 10-0.
During the game’s aftermath, Abbott, whose ERA is down to 0.49, graciously signed autographs for the enthusiastic fans. Acknowledging the effort of Edwards in a post-game scrum, it was very heartwarming as it signified the first time that Edwards had caught a perfect game in NPF play. Of note, the first two perfect games thrown in Bandits history were accomplished by multiple Summer Games gold medalist Jennie Finch against Philadelphia on June 16, 2009 and Akron on July 9, 2010.
In between this memorable game, there was a bookend of events that made it a memorable week. The day prior, the Bandits had competed in a Battle of the Sexes game, while July 24 was a fundraiser for Cancer Awareness. Donning special edition jerseys to be auctioned off for charity, it only added to another great chapter in Bandits history.