Allentown, Pennsylvania - The Chinese National Team defeated the Philadelphia Force 2-0 on Wednesday, June 21 at ECTB Stadium at Bicentennial Park. Lu Wei pitched the complete game shutout and registered the win against the home team, recording seven strikeouts on the night. Stephanie
VanBrakle took her first loss of the year, as the Force dropped to 3-6 on the season. Both of China's runs were unearned, the products of two throwing errors by the Force. Philadelphia was led offensively by center fielder Sarah Fekete who had two hits on the evening, and is currently leading the team with a .421 batting average. Also collecting hits for the Force were Natasha Watley, Ryan Realmuto and Jaime Dacey.
First baseman Jenna Hall led off the bottom of the fourth inning with a walk. Pinch runner Stacie Pestrak was sacrificed over by left fielder Chelsea Spencer, t
o bring up Shippensburg graduate, Jaime Dacey. Dacey, currently ranked third in on-base percentage for the Force with .400, drew her third walk of the season to put runners on first and second for Philadelphia. Realmuto hit a high pop fly to the Chinese shortstop for the second out of the inning, giving way to the Force pitcher, who struck out to end the Force threat.
In the top of the sixth inning, Tan Ying hit a shallow fly ball to left field, but Spencer was unable to make the catch as Ying earned a stand up double. Zhang Ai sacrificed Ying to third base, putting China within 60 feet of the lead. VanBrakle induced Li Chunxia to fly out to third base for the second out of the inning. Cleanup hitter Lu Yi walked to put runners on first and third. With two outs and VanBrakle working hard to get out of the jam, China's attempt at a double steal was successful when the catcher, Realmuto, threw the ball wide down the second base. The ball tipped off of Leto's glove and China took the lead, 1-0.
The Force made every effort to come right back in the sixth inning, as Hall drew her second walk of the night. She was again sacrificed over by Spencer, to give way to Dacey, who hit a single, putting runners on the corners. Ryan Realmuto hit a ground ball to shortstop, moving Dacey to second base and giving China the second out of the inning. With two runners in scoring position, VanBrakle struck out for the third time of the game, putting a quick halt to the Force scoring opportunity.
In the top of the seventh inning, Wu Di led off the inning with a triple to left field, as Spencer misplayed the ball. On the relay throw home, Watley made a throwing error, giving China all of the insurance they would need for the night.
With their last chance to score, designated player Jodie Cox retired the first out of the game with an infield pop, giving way to top of the Force order. Fekete, the slapper, smacked her second single of the day, bringing up the Force's clutch hitting second baseman. Leto ended her five game hitting streak when she struck out swinging.
On hand for the first game of the series was three time Olympic Gold Medalist, Leah O'Brien-Amico. The Chinese National Team, the only non-league team the Force will play this season, is also the host of the 2008 Olympic Games which will be held in Beijing, China.