Pitcher Jennie Finch announces retirement

jenniefinchNational Pro Fastpitch (NPF) icon and Bandits’ pitcher Jennie Finch announced her retirement plans today, stating her professional and international softball career will end following the final Chicago Bandits home stand and NPF playoffs in August.

“While it saddens me to see her hang up her cleats, I feel blessed to have shared a portion of her tremendous career with her,” said Bandits owner Bill Sokolis. “She has been laboring over this decision for a long time, Jennie is an intelligent woman, she has thought this through and her decision is right for her family.”

“I know Casey and Ace will be happy. The Bandits organization, and the NPF, could not have asked for a better role model for our young players, and she is a model ambassador to this great game.”

“Jennie entered the NPF as the number one pitcher in the world and will exit the NPF as the number one pitcher in the world. That is hard to do. I will miss her, but I will enjoy watching her here for one last series, in Elgin, the final week of the season.”

The Olympic gold medalist brings an end to a 10-year career in which she helped the sport blossom in the United States.

The 6-foot-2 pitcher was a standout at Arizona before becoming an icon with the U.S. team, going 32-0 her junior year and putting together 60 consecutive wins – both NCAA records. She won gold at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and silver four years later in Beijing.

This month, she helped the U.S. win its seventh straight world championship in Venezuela.

Finch was much more than a pretty face as she took over Lisa Fernandez’s place as the sport’s most recognized player during a period when the following for the Women’s College World Series and the national team experienced marked growth. Her 60-game run stretched over nearly two years and included the 2001 WCWS title.

Her dominance carried over to the national team, where she combined with the likes of Fernandez and Cat Osterman to make up the world’s best pitching rotation through the early part of the decade.

Coupled with her softball skills, Finch’s beauty and charm landed her a place in pop culture. She struck some of the big leagues’ best hitters in appearances on “This Week in Baseball,” competed on “Celebrity Apprentice” and made the rounds on late-night talk shows.

Finch’s final home series with the Bandits will be against Monica Abbott and the Tennessee Diamonds. The five game series features games on August 19 at 7:05 p.m., August 20 at 7:05 p.m., August 21 at 2:05 p.m., August 21 at 7:05 p.m., and concludes Sunday, August 22 at 2:05 p.m.

Promotional nights for the final home series include 94.3 K~LOVE Family Faith Night (Aug 19), Pack the Park Night with $5 tickets (Aug 20) and Fan Appreciation Day (Aug 22).

Tickets to see Jennie Finch and the Bandits in action are still available at 877-722-6348. For more information about the Chicago Bandits visit www.chicagobandits.com.

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