Lowell, Mass The New England Riptide was back in action at home on Martin Softball Field on Wednesday July 5 for the first in a four game series with the Philadelphia Force. The Force is an expansion team new to the NPF this season. The Riptide dropped the first game of the series to the Force 4-2.
American Idol finalist and Massachusetts native Ayla Brown was on hand to sing the National Anthem and throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Ayla also took the time to meet with fans and sign autographs before the contest.
Philadelphia was first on the board scoring early in the top of the first inning. Chelsea Spencer singled with one out to put a runner on for the Force. Spencer stole second putting herself in scoring position. Ryan Realmuto was next to the plate and popped out to Lyndsey Angus at first but advanced Spencer to third. Riptide pitcher Danielle Henderson walked Jenna Hall to put two on for Philadelphia. A wild pitch by Henderson allowed Spencer to score giving the Force an early 1-0 lead.
The Riptide quickly answered the Philadelphia run in the bottom of the first. Jackie Pasquerella led off with a single to short and Lisa Iancin blasted a triple into left centerfield that scored Pasquerella, tying the game 1-1. New England saw more scoring opportunity in the inning when Force pitcher Jennifer Stewart hit both Tarrah Beyster and Lyndsey Angus to load the bases for the Riptide. First baseman Hall quickly ended the inning catching a line drive off the bat of Kristin
Vesely and tagging first for the out on the advancing Angus.
Henderson struggled to contain the Force at the plate in the top of the second. Stacie Pestrak sent a double into right centerfield with one out in the inning. Carri Leto to put two runners on for Philadelphia. Spencer was next to the plate sending a double into left centerfield that scored both Pestrak and Leto putting the Force on top 3-1.
Philadelphia took the opportunity to increase their lead again in the top of fourth. Henderson walked Spencer with one out in the inning. Realmuto grounded out to Henderson in the circle but advanced Spencer to second. A wild pitch by Henderson sent Spencer to third and a single by Hall drove Spencer home to put the Force on top 4-1. New Riptide pitcher Erica Beach relieved Henderson following the Philadelphia run with a runner on and two outs. Pasquerella put the
inning away catching a foul ball off the bat of Jaime Dacey for out number three.
New England rallied to cut the Philadelphia lead in the bottom of the fifth. Destiny Frankenstein led off with a single. Pasquerella was next to the plate hitting into a fielder's choice that allowed shortstop Spencer to throw Frankenstein out at second. Iancin hit into a fielder's choice but an error on the play by Spencer allowed both Pasquerella and Iancin to reach safely. A base hit by Lindy Winkler scored Pasquerella and cut the Force lead by one, 4-2.
The Riptide was able to contain the Force at the plate behind Beach in the circle for the next two innings, but could not find their groove offensively. New England ended up falling to Philadelphia in a 4-2 decision. Henderson had three strikeouts on the night despite recording her third loss of the season.
The `Tide take on the Force at home in the second game of the series Thursday July 6 at 7:05 pm.