By Bob Simmons
The Akron Racers battled throughout, but were once again unable to overcome a quick start by the Chicago Bandits, as Chicago took the final game of the season series by a score of 3-2 on July 8 at Firestone Stadium in Akron, Ohio, holding off multiple comeback bids by the Racers. Akron and the Bandits split the season series 5-5.
Chicago got on the board early against Akron and starting pitcher Rachele Fico, putting two runs up in the top of the first inning. After left fielder Brenna Moss legged out a double. Right fielder Emily Crane stepped in and blasted a two-run home run to right-center field to give Chicago the quick 2-0 lead.
Crane is from Troy, Mo, a graduate of the University of Missouri. She was acquired by the Bandits this winter in a trade with the Scrap Yard Dawgs.
The Racers responded with a run of their own in the first inning against Chicago starting pitcher Lacey Waldrop.
In the third inning, Chicago would once again extend its lead with a two-out rally. With two outs, Crane and third baseman Natalie Hernandez both punched two-out base hits. Bandit catcher Sahvanna Jaquish, squeezed a double just inside the right field line to bring Crane home to give Chicago a 3-1 lead.
Akron continued to fight, once again responded with a run in its half of the third inning against Bandits reliever Haylie Wagner.
Akron had chances to even the game in the middle innings, but could never get the breakthrough they needed. A highlight came later in the game when Crane threw a dart to retire Montalvo at the plate to end the inning.
Crane was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBIs to lead the Bandit offense. She earned Player of the Game honors.
This is her second year in the National Fast Pitch League. . Last year as a rookie, she was in the top 10 in stolen bases by swiping 11 of 13 attempts She committed only one error in 60 chances in the outfield.
Crane graduated from Troy Buchanan High School and a former Gatorade Player of the Year in Missouri. She is the daughter of Roy Crane and Dr. Connie Werkmeister and Bruce Werkmeister., all of Troy.