Friday, September 23, 2016

Amanda Kamekona and the 2016 Chicago Bandits

Amanda Kamekona was a star softball player at UCLA.  She joined the NPF as an undrafted free agent signing with the Carolina Diamonds in 2012.  She played with the New York/New Jersey Comets in 2013.  In 2014, she joined the USSSA Pride, where she remained until July 20, 2016, when they released her.
On July 23, the defending NPF champion Chicago bandits signed her.  AK 47 had 11 hits in 37 at bats for the Bandits.  She had 5 rbi's, scored 7 runs and one home run.  She played multiple positions, as well.
The Pride were riding high in first place when they released Amanda.  The Bandits were scuffling a bit in 4th.  The Bandits ended up in 3rd and eventually beat the Pride to capture their second straight Cowles Cup (NPF championship).
Amanda was not the MVP of the Bandits, but she provided a spark.  She brought experience and a tremendous amount of energy.  We will never know if the Bandits would have won it all without her, but we know she contributed a lot during her short time here.
It's moves like this and players like Amanda, that show the front office of the Bandits is top notch.  Owner Bill Sokolis, GM Aaron Moore, Manager Mike Steuerwald, Coach Roman Foore and the few staffers they have, work tirelessly to find gems like Amanda.  The Bandits continue to bring in and develop players who are quality people and excellent softball players.
One of the highlights for me was being in Akron when AK hit her first home run with the Bandits.  I got to interview her after the game.  Of course, I had to ask how it felt, full well knowing her answer would be that it felt great, but it was her enthusiasm which really captured me.
People always ask me who my favorite Chicago Bandit is.  I say it changes continually, because I cannot pick one (or exclude one) player from the conversation.  I love the Bandits and AK is just th latest, greatest addition to this fine organization!
Amanda Kamekona and me in Rosemont, IL-August 2016.

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