Allentown, Pa. - Right fielder Trena Peel hit a two-out grand slam in the bottom of the fifth to spark the Philadelphia Force to a 7-6 win over the New England Riptide (12-11). The win moves the Force (10-9) into sole possession of fourth place in the NPF standings, ahead of the Riptide and the Chicago Bandits.
Kristina Thorson (5-2), who relived starter Stacy Birk in the third inning, picked up the win. She struck out five batters in her 4 1/3 innings of work.
Riptide starting pitcher Erica Beach started the scoring in the second inning with a leadoff home run. They added a second run in the inning on a sacrifice fly by shortstop Lisa Iancin. In the third, the Riptide added two more runs without the benefit of a hit.
The Force cut the lead in half in the third. Center fielder Sharonda McDonald reached second on an infield single and throwing error with one out. After a wild pitch moved McDonald to third, shortstop Chelsea Spencer (1-for-2, 2 BB) walked and then moved to second on a passed ball. With the runners at second and third, designated player Jenna Hall hit a grounder to first baseman Garland Cooper. Cooper attempted to throw home on the play, but her throw hit Hall as she was running in the baseline to first. The throw ricocheted into foul ground allowing McDonald and Spencer to score on the play.
In the fifth, the Force plated five runs. Spencer led the inning off with a single. Hall delivered a single to right center field, and Spencer, who was running on the pitch, scored all the way from first base to cut the Riptide lead to one. The Force would load the bases on a walk to first baseman Kellie Wilkerson and a hit batsman of left fielder Megan McAllister. After a tough 12-pitch at-bat by catcher Rocky Spencer led to a foul pop out, Peel stepped into a Danielle Henderson (3-3) offering and drove it over the center field fence. The grand slam was Peels fourth home run of the season, a team high, and her eleventh RBI, also a team high.
The Riptide did score two more runs in the top of the seventh to make the game interesting, but Thorson provoked Gina Carbonatto into a ground ball with a runner on first base to end the game.
On Sunday, the Force, winners of four straight, look to complete the sweep of New England. The game is a make up from Thursday night and first pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. at ECTB Stadium. Anyone with a ticket stub from tonights game will receive a buy-one, get-one free ticket offer at the booth for Sundays game.