Allentown, Pennsylvania - Looking for their first sweep in franchise history, the Philadelphia Force came up short losing game four 3-1 on Saturday evening at ECTB Stadium at Bicentennial Park. The Philadelphia Force (3-5) offense only mustered three hits off of Christa Williams and only produced one run on five Texas Thunder (8-3) errors, falling short in the final game of the series. Southpaw Jennifer Stewart took the loss, pitching four innings before being relieved by Stephanie VanBrakle. The Force was led offensively by Carri Leto and Natasha Watley, both collecting two hits on the night.
The Texas Thunder opened up the scoring in the top of the first inning when 2005 NPF MVP Kristen Zaleski led off the inning with a single. Julie Watsons sacrifice moved Zaleski into scoring position and a wild pitch by Force starter Jen Stewart put her within 60 feet of home plate. 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist, Amanda Freed, came through with an RBI single to score Zaleski. Karrie Rider grounded out to Jennifer Stewart for the second out and Rocky Spencer hit a line drive that was caught by first baseman Jenna Hall to end the inning.
The Force tied up the game in the bottom of the first inning when Leto extended her hitting streak to five games with a single to left field. She advanced to second on an error, putting herself in scoring position for 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist Watley. Watley, who recently returned from the tryouts for the USA National Team, singled to left field to score Leto.
Adrian Gregory led off for Texas in the third inning with a slow roller to Stewarts backhand, but the pitcher was unable to field the ball cleanly. Gregory then stole second base, and advanced to third on a throwing error by the Force catcher. Zaleski walked and then stole second base, putting two runners in scoring position for Texas. Watson hit a ground ball to Stewart, who caught Gregory off of third base for the out. Amanda Freed walked to load the bases and Rider hit a sacrifice fly to left field, putting the Thunder ahead of the Force, 2-1.
In the top of the fourth inning, Kim Nesloney hit a home run to left center to extend the Thunder lead to two.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Sarah Fekete proved once again why she is the Force lead off hitter, starting things off with a bunt single. Leto hit a hard ground ball to the Texas third baseman who was able to get the lead runner. With Leto on first, Watley hit a hard bouncing ball to the shortstop who made a throwing error, putting speed on the base paths for Force clean-up-hitter Jenna Hall. With one out, Hall hit a ground ball to the right side, advancing Leto and Watley. Texas starter Williams struck out Spencer to end the Force threat.
Ryan Realmuto drew a walk with one out in the bottom of the sixth inning. VanBrakle then roped a line drive to third base, doubling up Realmuto and ending the inning for the home team.
Williams struck out pinch hitter Melissa Ramirez and Fekete to retire to quick outs in the bottom of the seventh inning. Clutch hitting Leto then hit a line drive single to right field, before Watley roped a single to left field. With two runners on, last Saturdays home run hero Jenna Hall came to the plate with a chance to win the game with one swing. Pitcher, Amanda Freed came into the game to relieve Williams, who collected six Force strikeouts before giving way to Freed. Hall hit a line drive, but right at the shortstop, ending the Force four game winning streak.
Dont miss the next Force home stand against the Chinese National Team June 21 June 24. All games at ECTB Stadium at Bicentennial Park begin at 7:05 PM. Wednesdays game will include a special appearance by three time Olympic Gold Medalist Leah OBrien-Amico. For ticket information call 215.441.8600 or visit the website at www.philadelphiaforce.com