The Chicago Bandits had a rough offseason, losing many players to retirements or trades. Fortunately, Sammy Marshall is not one of those former Bandits.
Sammy is entering her third year with the Bandits. After an excellent career at Western Illinois University, Sammy became the third player from WIU to ever be drafted to play professionally. In her first season with the Bandits, she went hitless in a handful of plate appearances, but she showed signs of things to come. She scored 11 runs and added six stolen bases.
In 2016, Sammy was given more playing time and she took advantage of it, blossoming into one of the leaders on the team. She batted .254 with 29 runs, 8 rbi's and 15 stolen bases.
Sammy was also one of the most popular players, too. Aside from her loyal group of family and friends, she always had a line of young fans cheering for her and wanting pictures and autographs.
If all of this wasn't enough, Sammy took a vocal role on the team on social media. One of the most impressive things was when she politely chided some fans on Facebook for inadvertently slighting one fan. Sammy's response was mature, thoughtful and concise, without being preachy or overbearing.
That showed me several things. First, Sammy does follow the interactions on FB and not just those involving her. Two, she cares enough about all the fans to speak up. Three, she has enough confidence and conviction to actually speak up. It was a very mature and compassionate thing to do. I truly gained even more respect for her from that one post.
Since I have written so glowingly about Sammy, I must take one small, humorous jab. The fans are waiting for an inside-the-park home run. With her incredible speed, it really is only a matter of time. It would be cool if it was her first home run.
In the interview below, I asked Sammy about hitting an inside-the-park homer. We also talked about her speed, her family support system and other fun stuff.
Thank you to the Chicago bandits for allowing me access. Thanks, too, to Sammy for her time and consideration and for her part in winning two consecutive NPF titles. Sammy is a special person and player. It's been a pleasure watching her develop and knowing her.
Stay tuned here all season for coverage of Sammy and the Bandits. You can also go to ChicagoBandits.com for more info, including schedules, special offers and merchandise.