ROSEMONT, Ill. (CBS) — For years Jennie Finch was the face of the Chicago Bandits and women’s professional softball. These days, she’s a retired soon-to-be mother of two.
But as CBS 2’s Megan Mawicke, you will find her name in Rosemont – on “Jennie Finch Way” – the site of the Bandits’ brand new ballpark.
With 12 new players a new coach, you would think it is a rebuilding year for the Bandits, but that’s not the case. It’s just a bit of a transition as they’re stocked up with talent again.
“I’ve been here for five years and this is the most new people we’ve had, but also the most impacting people,” Bandits outfielder Caitlin Lever said. “We’re definitely not rebuilding, it’s more like reloading. (We have) a lot of good players and a lot of good rookies,” says new head coach Darrick Brown.
The Bandits are strong at every position but pitching should be their biggest strength. And, taking over for the retired Jennie Finch is the new staff ace Monica Abbott. “We have good strong pitching, but also hitting,” says Bandits pitcher Monica Abbott. “Monica is the best pitchers in the world right now. Jennie was amazing too but Monica is in her prime now and it’s a good time to have her here,” adds Coach Brown.
Not only do they have new faces, but the Bandits have a beautiful, brand new ballpark. The Bandits are the first team in the league with their own stadium and it seats up to 2,000 fans. “This field is amazing, absolutely beautiful. It’s my first time seeing it today and I am just in awe, so close to O’Hare Airport and it’s such a great place to play,” says Abbott. “It’s amazing. The city of Rosemont has done a good job. This is one of the best softball field I’ve seen in my life,” Brown said.
And they’re digging deep to bring home their second championship. “We wouldn’t be the best if we weren’t setting the goals high. Yeah, we’re taking it home this year,” said Caitlin Lever.
The Bandits won a championship in 2008. This is the Bandits third home in seven seasons having called Lisle and Elgin home. They are two-and-two on the early season. Their home opener is Thursday night.