Thunder lose heart breaker to Canada; lose 6-5

Kristen Zaleski went 3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI, and moved into first place in the NPF with two stolen bases on Saturday (five on the season). Serena Settlemier pitched 4.2 innings in relief without allowing an earned run, but four Rockford (8-7) errors proved to be their undoing, losing a heart-breaking 6-5 decision.

Canada got on the board first, when Jennifer Yee got aboard on a Rockford fielding error. The Thunder paid for it in the next at-bat as Jennifer Salling drove Yee in with a single to deep right -center.

Rockford came right back as Zaleski, Audrey Rendon and Shanna Diller reached on singles to lead off in the bottom of the first. Zaleski eventually came around to score on a passed ball by Canada catcher Erin Cumpstone.

Team Canada did a majority of their damage in the top of the third, as Erin McLean, Yee and Salling each singled to lead off the inning. Alison Bradley drove McLean and Yee in with a hard-lined single to center field. After starter Allison Kime was lifted in favor of Settlemier, DP Megan Timpf was hit hard by a Settlemier full count pitch. After the inning, Timpf was lifted and did not re-enter the game. Next up was Cumpstone, who reached on an infield single to drive Bradley in. Settlemier was able to retire the next to batters to limit the damage to four third inning runs.

Once again, the Thunder struck right back. In the bottom of the fourth, Stephanie Best got aboard with a leadoff single to left field. Savannah Brown followed up with her second home run of the year, driving in her team-leading seventh RBI of the season. Sandy Vojik followed up the slam with a first-pitch double to right-center field. After reaching third on a wild pitch, Vojik scored on a Zaleski double to center field. Rendon continued the scoring with a triple down the right field line, plating Zaleski for her second run of the contest.

Two full innings followed with the game knotted at five until the top of the seventh. Bradley reached base for Team Canada on an error, as she popped up high down the right field line, and the ball was dropped by a Rockford infielder. Bradley came around to score on a Noemie Marin single up the middle with one out. The Thunder got a hit in the bottom of the seventh by Best, but the Thunder couldn't get any more production to score the game-tying run to send the game into extra innings.

Settlemier (0-2) took the hard-luck loss despite not giving up any earned runs over four and two-thirds innings. Danielle Lawrie earned the win in relief for Team Canada.

With Canada up 3-0 in the series, the two squads will meet each other once more, on Sunday at 3:05 pm at Players Park in Roscoe. All seats are $5, and tickets can be purchased beginning an hour before game time.

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