Lowell, MA - The New England Riptide, winners of their last 9 of 11 games took the field against the Philadelphia Force. Jocelyn Forest, last years NPF leader in wins with 15 went into the circle for the Riptide. Meanwhile, the Force countered with the winner of Wednesdays game, Kristina Thorson. Thorson has been the mainstay of the Force this year, winning 8 eight of her teams 14 wins, and has a meager 1.22 ERA.
The Riptide got on the board first thanks to an error by Thorson. With one out she was unable to handle an easy ground ball hit by Shanel Scott. Scott later scored on a Lyndsey Angus single, but not before stealing her league leading 27th base of the year. Scott is now six away from tying the NPF record for steals held by Kristin Zaleski of the Thunder.
The Force got it back in bizarre fashion in the second. Kellie Wilkerson led off with a single to left center. Trena Peel followed with a ground single to right fielded quickly by Lisa Modglin who threw out Wilkerson trying to take third. Peel took second on the throw and could only take third when Rocky Spensers single was kept in the infield by a diving Lisa Iancin. The run was only held up temporarily as Clare Burnham lifted a fly ball to moderately deep center. It looked like a sac fly, however, Gina Carbonatto began throwing home before she had the ball and it dropped out of her glove. Peel scored, but fortunately for Carbonatto, Spencer had not ventured far from first and was tossed out at second in an unusual 8-6 force out. No further damage was done and the score was tied 1-1.
The Force got another in the third after the Riptide looked like they might have avoided further damage. Sharonda McDonald and Chelsea Spencer led off with singles, putting McDonald on third. That would be all tonight for Forest who gave way to Eileen Canney. When Spencer stole second, McDonald ventured a bit two far from third and Iancin at short cut the throw and picked McDonald off at third via a throw to KJ Kelley.
Canney did was she does best, striking out Jenna Hall and Peel, but not before throwing two wild pitches, allowing Spencer to score and give the Force a 2-1 lead.
The Riptide threatened in the fourth loading the bases on a double by Lisa Modglin and walks to pinch hitters Tarrah Beyster and Shelley Prochaska, but after a good at bat Thorson managed to strikeout Carbonatto. The Force made it 3-1 in the fifth on a single by Chelsea Spencer and a long single by Hall off the wall in left. It was enough to score Spencer all the way from first. The Riptide threatened in the sixth and seventh but could not get a run across the plate.
The teams play their final game Saturday at 7:05 at Martin Softball Field. The Riptide return for their final series on August 10th versus the Akron Racers.