The New England Riptide matched up in the team's season opener, the first of a double-header, with the Stratford Brakettes, who will be joining the National Pro Fastpitch league in 2006, and came out with a 4-2 victory. The Riptide's Jocelyn Forest (inset photo) and Brakettes pitcher Kaci Clark, a former NY/NJ Juggernaut player, hooked up in another of many match-ups. Neither pitcher was at the top of her game, but Forest got the outs when she had to.
The score was boosted by back-to-back homers in the third inning by two players new to the Riptide team this year, Kellie Wilkerson, also a former Juggernaut player, and Stephanie Best, a recent graduate of the Universtity of Central Florida. Both look to contribute strong bats to the 2005 Riptide lineup.
Forest pitched six innings to pick up the win, while Leigh Ann Ellis retired the Brakettes in order in the seventh to get the save.
The Riptide scored first in the top of the second, when Rachael McGinnis singled up the middle. After Jen Scavone grounded into a fielder's choice, Ashley Moore hit a long double into the left center gap to score Scavone from first. The Brakettes got the run back in the bottom of the second with back-to-back doubles by Jennifer Owens and Erica Sobel. Forest hung in tough, getting Jill Cimminello to ground out and struck out Robyn King.
In the third with two outs, Wilkerson and Best did their damage, hitting long back-to-back home runs. The Brakettes tightened things up in the bottom of the sixth, when Germaine Fairchild opened the inning with a home run straight to center field. Forest bore down after Owens followed with a single to get out of the inning. The Riptide got an insurance run in the top of the seventh, when Sarah Andersen doubled home Wilkerson, who had walked. Ellis came in for the bottom of seventh to save the win for Forest, who struck five and walked one in her six innings of work.
In the second game of the double-header, going into the top of the fifth, the Riptide leads the Brakettes 2-0, behind a two-run home run by Sarah Andersen.