AKRON, Ohio New England Riptide slugger Tara Knudsen delivered her biggest blow of the 2004 season on Thursday night when she sent a second inning Christa Williams pitch over the wall for a grand slam, a hit that has evened the best-of-three game series at one a piece.
With the Texas Thunder leading 2-0 after the top of the second inning, the Riptide came to the plate looking to manufacture something to get back into the game, and manufacture they did. New England took advantage of a leadoff single by Lyndsey Angus and a couple of fielding blunders by the Thunder to give Knudsen the opportunity to come to the plate. Knudsen fouled off several pitches in the at-bat before sending the 1-2 riseball over the left field fence to give the Riptide the 4-2 victory.
Leigh Ann Ellis took the mound for New England in game two and she shut down the Thunder to pick up the victory. Ellis threw the complete seven innings for the Riptide, allowing five hits and striking out five batters in the game.
Texas received another solid outing from a starting pitcher this year. Williams, the 2004 NPF Pitcher of the Year, allowed only three hits in the contest, including the grand slam to Knudsen. She allowed four unearned runs, walked two and struck out nine in the game.
The same two teams will battle again tomorrow night for the right to play in the first ever championship series live from Akron at 8 p.m. EDT. Fans can catch the action live on www.npf.prosportsradio.com beginning at 6 p.m. EDT when the Akron Racers take on the NY/NJ Juggernaut. Texas and New England will begin approximately 20 minutes following the conclusion game one.
NPF, the worlds premier professional fastpitch softball league for women, consists of six teams located throughout the United States and features former USA Softball Womens National Team members, collegiate All-Americans and all-conference selections. The 2004 season has featured the inaugural NPF All-Star Game, the first-ever NPF Championship Semifinal and the first NPF Championship Series.
National Pro Fastpitch is headquartered in Denver, and has been in operation since 1997 under the names Womens Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Womens Pro Softball League (WPSL).