Lowell, MA - The New England Riptide began the first of two games in a double header against the Chicago Bandits Sunday afternoon. Before the beginning of the double header the Riptide concluded its Friday night home opener against the Bandits which was halted due to rain after six innings. The Bandits were able to quickly break the 3-3 tie and ended up taking the first of a three game series 4-3.
The Riptide came on strong looking to take the second game of the series from the Bandits. Riptide defense remained tough behind pitcher Danielle Henderson. Catcher KJ Kelley was a force behind the plate, throwing out Chicago's leadoff batter Vicky Galindo in an attempt to steal second early in the first inning.
After holding Chicago scoreless in the top of the first the Riptide offense opened up the scoring. Bandits pitcher Gina Oaks walked both Jackie Pasquerella and Kristin Vesely to put two on for the Riptide. Both Riptide runners advanced on a wild pitch putting them in scoring position. Lyndsey Angus was next to the plate for the Riptide, Angus flied out to center giving Pasquerella enough time to tag up and third and score. Designated player Tarrah Beyster came to the plate with Vesely on third and two outs in the inning with the Riptide on top 1-0. Beyster blasted a base hit to left center, scoring Vesely and increasing the Riptide lead 2-0. Oaks ended the Riptide rally by striking out Kelley to put away the inning.
Henderson struggled in the top of the second allowing the Bandits to gain on the Riptide lead. With one out in the inning Henderson walked both Oaks and designated player Stacey May. The next batter Anne Steffan had a base hit toward the circle to lead the bases for Chicago. Henderson then walked Galindo walking in a run to cut the Riptide lead to one, 2-1. After allowing a Bandit to advance Henderson rebounded earning consecutive strikeouts against Treena Peel and Jaime Clark.
The Riptide scored again in the bottom of the third putting themselves ahead 3-1, but the bottom of the fourth proved to be the biggest inning offensively for the Riptide. Kelley led off with a base hit and Lindy Winkler was entered to pinch run. Destiny Frankenstein hit into a fielders choice, but an error on the play allowed her and Winkler to reach base safely. A base hit by Jen Scavone loaded the bases for the Riptide. Oaks struck out Tiffany Stewart and Lisa Iancin hit into a fielders choice allowing Winkler to be tagged out at home for the second out of the inning. With bases still loaded Pasquerella blasted a hit past the shortstop scoring Frankenstein. With the Riptide ahead 4-1 Vesely placed a base hit in center scoring Scavone. A 5-1 Riptide lead forced the Bandits to make a pitching change and Missy Beseres entered the game for Oaks. Lyndsey Angus was next to the plate and blasted a three run triple into right center to give the Riptide an 8-1 advantage.
The Bandits came on just as strong offensively in the top of the fifth inning. Galindo led off with a base hit to center, and a base hit for Peel put two on the bases for Chicago. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch and a base hit to left field by Clark scored Galindo. The next batter MacKenzie Vandergeest walked to load the bases again for the Bandits. Trimboli hit into a fielders choice that allowed the Riptide to get Vandergeest out at third, but scored Peel making the score 8-3 Riptide. Amanda Williams was next to bat, she hit back to Henderson and was thrown out at first but drove in Clark. Oaks then placed a base hit in center scoring Trimboli and trimming the Riptide lead to three, 8-5. Riptide pitcher Jocelyn Forest came in to relieve Henderson and struck out May for the last out of the inning.
The Bandits scored another run in the top of the sixth but it was not enough to take the game and the Riptide went on to win 8-6. Forest had four strikeouts in two innings of relief earning the win for the game.
The Riptide was back in action later Sunday night for the last of a three game series with the Chicago Bandits.