Allentown, Pennsylvania - In search for their first victory of the 2006 season, the Philadelphia Force (1-4) took on the Texas Thunder (7-2) in game one of a four game series after a one hour rain delay on Wednesday June 14th at ECTB Stadium at Bicentennial Park. The game, which lasted over three and a half hours, ended in a Force extra-inning victory as first baseman Jenna Hall blasted the first pitch of the 10th inning over the left field fence.
Southpaw Jodie Cox (0-1) was the starting pitcher for the Force, holding Texas to one hit in the first three innings. She got into trouble in the fourth inning when she loaded the bases by hitting Rocky Spencer and walking the next two batters. Cox, who left the game with a no decision, was relieved by Chambersburg native, Stephanie VanBrakle. With bases loaded, a passed ball and a single gave Texas a 3-0 lead.
Chelsea Spencer (2-for-3) placed herself in scoring position with a single to left field as she advanced to second on a throwing error. Sarah Fekete had a sacrifice bunt to move Spencer to third base before Leto singled to right center scoring Spencer, to put the Force within one run.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, right fielder Jaime Dacey started things off with a base hit before Emily Friedman advanced her on a sacrifice bunt. Spencer doubled to score Dacey, tying the game to 3-3. Fekete flew out to second base and Leto grounded out to push the game to extra innings.
In the top of the eighth inning, Texas hitter Kim Nesloney led off the inning with a walk before moving to second on a sacrifice bunt. VanBrakle induced Serena Settlemier into an infield pop up, but Nesloney advanced to third base on a balk by the Force reliever. VanBrakle struck out the cleanup batter Danielle Gomez to retire the Thunder.
The Thunder offense got things going in the top of the ninth with a lead off single by third baseman Karrie Rider. The next batter executed a sacrifice bunt, but Leto dropped the ball to allow the batter to first base. With runners on first and second, Adrian Gregory laid down a sacrifice bunt, but a heads up play by Realmuto got the lead runner at third base. Third baseman Emily Friedman made a stellar defensive play at third base to get the lead runner once again. Another hit in the 5-6 hole was grabbed by Friedman, but Watson managed to beat out the throw to first base and the runner from second base scored to give the Thunder a lead on the Force.
With the Force down one run in the bottom of the ninth, Dacey led off the inning with a double putting herself into scoring position with no outs. Friedman flew out to left center giving Texas their first out of the inning. Spencer walked putting runners on first and second with Fekete approaching to the plate. Fekete had an RBI single to score Dacey for her first professional hit. Leto came to the plate with one out and had a shot to the third baseman who dropped the ball but made the play at first. VanBrakle came to the plate with two outs and popped out to second base ending the inning
VanBrakle struck out the leadoff, Spencer in the top of the tenth inning. Settlemier walked to bring up the clean-up hitter Danielle Gomez. Gomez bunted up the middle but neither Hall or Friedman were able to make a play on her. Leto caught a pop fly off of Rider for the second out of the inning. Lindsey Gardner flew out to Fekete in left and the Force were out of the tenth still tied 4-4.
Olympic Gold Medalist Christa Williams pitched nine innings for the Thunder and earned a no decision on the night with 11 strikeouts before she was relieved by Krystal Lewallen in the tenth. Force clean-up hitter Jenna Hall came to the plate in the bottom of the tenth inning and launched a walk-off home run as the Force earned their first win of the season.
The Force will take on the Texas Thunder for game two of the home series Thursday, June 15 at 7:05pm.