ROSCOE, Ill. – For the second consecutive night the Thunder found a way to win a game in walk-off fashion, this time knocking off the Force by a final score of 6-5 in eight innings.
Megan Willis got the eighth inning started with her third hit of the night and advanced to second base when Chelsie Mesa reached on an error. Later in the inning Amanda Williams calmly stepped up and drove a 2-2 pitch to right field to bring in Mesa with the game-winning run.
Philadelphia (3-18) jumped out to an early first inning lead behind the bat of Jamie Lobpries. Lobpries blasted her second home run of the season to left field to give the Force an early 1-0 lead.
Rockford (11 -11) would take the lead back in the bottom of the third inning as they pushed three runs across the board. Singles by Willis and Jenna Rhodes and an error by De De Justice on Mesa’s bunt attempt helped get the offense going. Force starting pitcher Megan Gibson helped bring in the runs as she walked Williams and hit Shanna Diller with the bases loaded to drive in runs.
The game would remain 3-1 until the top of the sixth inning when the Force would add one more run to make it 3-2. The run also chased Thunder starter Samantha Sheeley from the game in favor of Allison Kime (3-5). Kime came in and quickly got Emily Friedman to fly out to end the scoring in the sixth.
From here the rest of the game got interesting.
In the top of the seventh and trailing 3-2, the Force scored three runs with the big blow coming off the bat of Justice. The former Thunder catcher laced a two-out, two-RBI double to left center to score two making the game 5-3. Philadelphia had scored earlier in the inning on a bases loaded squeeze bunt by another former Thunder player, Clare Burnum.
In the bottom of the seventh inning the Thunder got the two runs back right away to tie the game and send it to extra innings for the second straight night. Shanel Scott started the inning with a single and was followed by a walk to Williams. Chelsea Spencer came through with the big hit in the inning, as she crushed a two-RBI double to right center to tie game.
Sheeley went 5 2/3 innings before giving way to Kime. Sheeley allowed just four hits, three to Lobpries, and two runs in the game but didn’t figure in the decision.
The win for Kime was her first since a 2-0 win over the USSSA Pride on June 17.
Megan Gibson (0-5) was again the tough-luck loser in the game. She allowed all six runs in the game, but only three of them were earned. The game-winning run in the bottom of the eight went unearned similar to Wednesday night due to an error by the Force.
Rockford and Philadelphia will return to the diamond Friday night at 7:05 p.m. for game three of the five-game series. Allison Kime will return to the circle for the Thunder to start the game and she will most likely face Kristin Erb.
Friday night is also Pack the Park Night at the ballpark and all tickets will be $4. All kids in attendance will be able to participate in a free clinic at 4:30 p.m. and the gates will open at 4 p.m. Immediately following the game there will be a fireworks display coordinated by Central States Fireworks. In addition to the low ticket price and fireworks display, one set of the 2009 game-worn jerseys will be available during an in-game silent auction.
For more information on the Thunder or to purchase tickets contact the Thunder at (815) 965-7000. Additional information can also be obtained on the Thunder website at www.thunderprofastpitch.com.
GAME NOTES – You can follow the Rockford Thunder now at www.facebook.com and www.twitter.com... Thursday night was Faith and Family Night at the ballpark…The jersey retirement for Lindsay Gardner and Kristen Zaleski has been postponed until Opening Day 2010…Former Texas A&M stars Amanda Scarborough and Sharonda McDonald were in attendance at tonight’s game. .