Season of hard work, symbolized by Championship
By Andrew Phillips
World Championship Rings of Ashley Carlson & Bill Sokolis
A season of hard work, passion for the sport, blood, sweat and tears, on display
and symbolized by one thing, a 2008 NPF World Championship Ring.
of dedication, in exchange for a lifetime of memories.
There it was, on display
Friday night, in front of over 230 guests at the Heritage Ball Room in the Centre
of Elgin. The white-gold ring, glittered with diamonds surrounding the large blue
stone placed in the middle of the ring, showing off the name of the Chicago Bandits
the 2008 National Pro Fastpitch World Champions.
Im so excited,
Im speechless. Its gorgeous, said Bandits rookie Ashley Carlson
about her new Championship ring. Ive never ever imagined even coming
close to something like this and now were here, having a ceremony and its
just an amazing experience.
Carlson, one of many rookies that made an
impact on the Championship run, made the team by way of the open tryouts at the
beginning of the 2008 season. The rookies were led in a sense by NPF rookie of
the year Rachel Folden, who nested behind the plate as the catcher for the Bandits
Folden finished her impressive rookie campaign with 11 homeruns,
38 RBIs, four doubles and one triple on 38-of-122 (.311) batting, while crossing
the plate for 25 runs on the year.
The 2008 season didnt start out as
sweet as it ended, with an opening series loss (1-3) to the Rockford Thunder and
split series with the Canadian and Venezuelan Olympic teams. But, the Bandits
turned it around with a home-and-away series against the Washington Glory.
think after our Washington series, I think it kind of woke us up, said Bandits
outfielder Nicole Trimboli. We played them back-to-back at our place and
theirs, and we had a rough time over there. When they came to us it was kind of
a wakeup call for us. It was either do or die, either we step up or were
just going to be an average team like everyone else.
The Bandits stepped
up in deed, going on a tear through the league that catapulted them from basement
dweller to first place by the end of the regular season.
The Bandits also
said goodbye to who Bandits owner Bill Sokolis calls one of the greatest
to ever play the game of softball, in veteran outfielder Jaime Clark. Clark
has been a member of the Bandits since their inception in 2005 and produced her
best career season this year.
Looking ahead to the 2009 season the NPF will
be joined by an influx of Olympic talent, but the Bandits mission remains
We won, weve got to repeat, we have a target on our
backs, and weve got to defend it, said Kristina Thorson. Im
not going to speak for anyone else on the team, but I know I have a lot of stuff
to prove so Im looking forward to playing [every team] and showing them
what were made of.
[an error occurred while processing this directive]