Allentown, Pa. - Center fielder Sharonda McDonald went 2-for-2 with a run scored and a RBI in the nightcap to lead the Philadelphia Force to a doubleheader split with the Stratford Brakettes. The Brakettes had taken the early game by a score of 4-2, and the Force rebounded to win the late game, 4-3.
In the first game, the Brakettes jumped out to a 4-0 lead. Third baseman Whitney Mollica started the scoring in the second inning by driving in shortstop Courtney Bures, who got on base via a double. They added to their lead in the third when right fielder Denise Denis hit a one-out home run to right. The Brakettes then plated two more unearned runs in the inning off of Margo Pruis (3-2).
Pruis pitched the complete game and struck out six Brakettes.
Katie Burkhart made her season debut for the Brakettes in the win. She also recorded six strikeouts.
The Force would get on the board in the fourth inning. Shortstop Chelsea Spencer led off the inning with her fourth home run of the season, a deep blast to left center field. The Force scored one more time in the inning. Designated player Kellie Wilkerson drew a base on balls. After a groundout moved her to second, a fielding error on a Stacie Pestrak bunt placed her on third. With catcher Rocky Spencer at the plate, the Force executed a double steal with Wilkerson stealing home to make the final score of game one.
In the nightcap, second baseman Emily Friedman started off the first inning with a single. McDonald followed her with a walk. A passed ball would move both runners 65 feet closer to home. Two outs later, both runners would score. With Wilkerson at the plate, a Brandice Balschmiter pitch bounced away from the catcher and rolled towards the Force dugout. Friedman scored easily and the Fast Like a NASCAR McDonald scored all the way from second base.
The Brakettes earned one back on an RBI single by left fielder Allison Twarowski in the fifth inning.
In their half of the fifth, the Force (12-11) scored two more run using four singles. Friedman and McDonald each would drive in a run to give the Force a 4-2 lead after five full.
The Brakettes made things interesting in the sixth when catcher Killian Roessner homered with Bures on base to cut the Force lead to one run.
Force pitcher Stacy Birk (2-5) was great in the circle. She struck out nine batters in the win. Birk got center fielder Sari-Jane Jenkins to line out to Friedman with a runner on second to end the game.
The Force and Brakettes meet up for one last time on Friday evening at 7:05 p.m. If you can not attend the ballgame, there will be a link at www.philadelphiaforce.com to listen to live audio, courtesy of the Stratford Brakettes.