The New England Riptide needed two extra frames to defeat the Chicago Bandits, but advanced to the National Pro Fastpitch Championship with a 1-0 win, Saturday afternoon at Frank DeLuca HOF Field in Stratford, CT. Lyndsey Angus slid home safely in the bottom of the ninth, after an errant throw allowed her to take two extra bases. Angus led off the ninth with a single, then move to second on a sacrifice bunt by KJ Kelley. She slid into second as Nicole Trimboli elected to try to get the force of the lead runner. Her throw sailed into left-center, and Angus never faltered on her march to the winning run. Amanda Williams backed up the throw, and fired a strike to Bandits' catcher Selena Collins. The throw was strong, but slightly up the third base line. Angus took an inside route to the plate, and just barely beat the throw.
Jocelyn Forest threw a nine-inning complete game two-hitter, striking out seven and walking just one. She was masterful throughout the game, and never allowed a Bandits runner to advance to third base. Gina Oaks was the tough-luck loser, as she scattered four hits throughout eight-plus innings. She struck out two and walked three. The pitcher's duel kept the faithful of both teams nervously attached to the action from beginning to end. The crowd featured a strong Riptide contingent, who made the trek from Lowell, Massachusetts.
Jen Scavone had a single and a base on balls for the Riptide. Angus also added a walk to her hit and run scored.
Mackenzie Vandergeest had two hits for the Bandits, who fell short of the NPF championship, despite owning the best regular-season record, (30-12), for the second straight season. They lost last year's championship to the Akron Racers.
New England will await the winner of tonight's second semi-final between the Connecticut Brakettes and the Akron Racers. The Riptide, who ended their NPF schedule at 24-17, moved into their second NPF championship game in the last three years. They lost to the New York Juggernaut in the 2004 NPF Final.
Tonight's second semi-final between the Brakettes and Racers will be webcast at www.profastpitch.com and www.ctbrakettes.com, live at 7:35 PM EDT. The pre-game show will begin at 7:05.