ALLENTOWN, Pa. - It was another close battle at ECTB Stadium, as the Force hosted the Rockford Thunder in a must win doubleheader Saturday evening. Despite a minor hiccup in game one that saw the Thunder take a 3-0 win, the Force led by Kristin Erb and Emily Friedman battled back in game two earn a huge 2-0 victory to close out the series. On the day, the Force and Thunder entertained over 1,500 fans that saw some amazing pitching performances.
The Force record following Saturday’s twinbill stood at 9-25, while the Thunder’s record remained at .500 (15-15).
Game one of the doubleheader was a tough one for the Force, as US Olympian Catherine Osterman defeated Philly for the second time this week. Osterman threw all seven innings and recorded 11 strikeouts and surrendered just one hit.
For the Force, Megan Gibson had herself a solid showing in the circle, but defensive errors proved to be the killer once again. In total Philly allowed three errors in the opener.
At the plate Laurie Wagner paced the Thunder on a 3-for-4 performance which included two runs scored. Shanel Scott, Lyndsey Anugs, and Amanda Williams each went 2-for-3 to lead their team to the win.
In the nightcap, Erb looked like a seasoned veteran throwing her first pro shutout. In seven innings of work she surrendered just two hits, and fanned one batter. Backing up Erb was Friedman who was a vacuum in game two. Combined the second baseman totaled eight assists, while Gibson recorded 13 putouts to solidify the defense.
Offensively, Philly jumped out to a 1-0 in the bottom of the first on triple by Gibson, which scored Alex Newton. After 4 1/2 scoreless innings, Friedman secured the Force’s victory in the bottom of the sixth with a one run home run.
Erb made quick work of the Thunder in the seventh to keep her team’s postseason dreams alive. Also helping out the Force in the league standings were the Akron Racers who defeated the USSSA Pride 4-3 in Ohio.
The Force will return to ECTB Stadium in a week to host the Pride in a must-win five game series. Game one of the most important series of the season is scheduled for Tuesday, August 11th at 7:35 p.m. EST. All five games can be viewed on the internet by going to http://www.philadelphiaforce.com/live.