Allentown, Pa.-Pinch hitter Emily Friedman hit a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the Philadelphia Force a 1-0 win over the Rockford Thunder. Friedman’s blast made a winner of Katie Burkhart who impressed in the circle by striking out a career-tying 14 Thunder batters.
In the top of the seventh inning the Rockford mounted a scoring chance when Shanna Diller led off with a line-drive double to right center field. Burkhart dug in and struck out Stephanie Best for her 13th strikeout of the game. The next batter, Settlemier grounded a shot to Clare Burnum at third that she fielded cleanly and fired to first getting Settlemier for the second out. On the play, Diller held at second base. Sandy Vojik was asked to pinch hit, but Burkhart (5-2) got her out looking at strikes for number 14 on the night.
In the bottom of the last frame, Friedman would send the 399 in attendance at ECTB Stadium home happy. With one out, Friedman was summoned to pinch hit for Trena Peel. The three-year NPF veteran lined Serena Settlemier’s first pitch just inside the left field pole and over the out stretched glove of Amanda Williams. It was Friedman’s first professional home run.
Early in the game, the Force (16-6) had a runner thrown out at the plate. Sharonda McDonald stroked a one-out single in the first inning. She moved to third base on a stolen base and a throwing error by the Thunder catcher. NPF’s leading hitter Kellie Wilkerson launched a fly ball to medium left field. Thunder’s Williams hauled in the fly and then sent a laser to home to retire McDonald trying to score.
Settlemier (0-4) was the hard-luck loser in the contest. She pitched 6.1 innings and allowed just six hits. She struck out six Force batters.
Burkhart scattered just three hits on the evening. On the season, she has 69 strikeouts which ties her for second in the NPF. She also lowered her ERA to 1.29 which is also second in the NPF.
The Force and Thunder (10-12) meet for game three of the series on Friday night at 7:05 p.m.The Force will continue to celebrate the Coach’s for the Cure Series as they honor the Autism Society of America, Lehigh Valley Chapter.
Rockford Thunder vs Philadelphia Force (Jul 10, 2008)