ROCKFORD - The Thunder kept the score close for most of the game, but could not come from behind to beat the Canadian national team Sunday afternoon. Team Canada won 8-4 in part because of two three-run home runs by second baseman Jennifer Yee.
Audrey Rendon, who played shortstop for the first time this season, went 2-for-3 to lead all Thunder hitters. Beth Boden batted 1-for-1 with an RBI, and Sandy Vojik hit her third double of 2008.
For the fourth straight game, Team Canada scored first. In the top of the third, Canadian third baseman Erin McLean drove catcher Kaleigh Rafter in from second with one out. Next up was Yee, who hit the first of her two three-run blasts.
As a part of a recurring theme for the series, Rockford struck back in the bottom half of the inning, when Boden and right fielder Erin Evans reached with no outs. Rendon then drew a walk to load the bases, which set the table for Shanna Diller. She hit a strong grounder down the first base line. Canada's first baseman fumbled the ball, which allowed Diller to reach base, and Boden and Evans were able to come around to score.
The two teams traded runs in the fifth, bringing the score to 5-3 Canada. The Canadians took control again in the top of the sixth, when Mel Matthews and McLean each hit no-out singles to set up Yee's second homer of the afternoon.
Rockford put up another strong effort in the sixth inning, when Vojik doubled down the left field line to lead off the inning. Vojik eventually scored on a wild pitch by Canadian hurler Robin Mackin, and the Thunder got two more baserunners in the inning to put the tying run in the on-deck circle, but Team Canada got out of the inning without any more damage.
Megan Brown (3-1) lost her first decision of the season, but remains third in the league ERA standings with a 2.33 mark. Lauren Bay Regula, the sister of Major League All-Star Jason Bay of the Pittsburgh Pirates, took her second win of the series after pitching three and a third innings without allowing an earned run.
Rockford will be traveling to Lowell, Mass. to play the New England Riptide for a four-game series this upcoming weekend, playing at 7 pm Eastern time each night from June 25-28. The Thunder's next home series will be July 23-26 against the Akron Racers for a four-game set.