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2017 NPF

Championship Series

August 17-20

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SPENCER POWERS FORCE TO EXTRA-INNING WIN

Allentown, Pennsylvania – After an eleven inning, four and a half hour battle, the Philadelphia Force snapped their five game losing streak with a come from behind, 3-2 victory over the New England Riptide. Force starter, Stephanie VanBrakle, went all eleven innings for the home team, registering six strike outs and improving her record to 4-4. The Riptide used three pitchers on the night, with last night’s winner Erica Beach taking the loss. Force shortstop Chelsea Spencer delivered the game winning RBI with two outs in the bottom of the eleventh, a line drive to right field.

For the third consecutive game, the Riptide scored a run in the top of the first inning. A walk, a single by KJ Kelley and a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases with one out. Tarrah Beyster then hit a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring Kristen Vesely and giving the Riptide the early 1-0 lead. With two outs, Jenn Scavone singled to right field, but right fielder Jaime Dacey fired the ball home to Ryan Realmuto, who was able to tag Kelley out at the plate.

In the second inning New England increased their lead to 2-0 on an RBI single by shortstop Destiny Frankenstein.

In the bottom of the fourth, Spencer reached second base on a throwing error by the pitcher. Realmuto then hit a deep fly ball to right field that was caught by the diving Riptide right fielder, Vesely, who knocked over the breakaway outfield fence. Without hesitation, Spencer completed a two base tag up, scoring from second base, cutting the Riptide lead in half, 2-1.

A single and back-to-back walks loaded the bases for the Riptide in the top of the sixth inning with no outs, bringing up pinch hitter Lisa Allen. Allen hit a ground ball to Leto, who was able to get the lead runner out at home for one out. Second baseman Lisa Iancin hit a ground ball up the middle and the Force shortstop, Spencer, who fielded the ball and then simultaneously stepped on second base and fired the ball to first, turning the double play.

The Force stayed alive in the bottom of the sixth inning, tying the game 2-2 on pitcher VanBrakle’s RBI single. With two outs, Lindsey Cameron walked and Jaime Dacey followed with a single to put runners on first and second for the Force pitcher.

With the chance to take the game in the bottom of the seventh inning, Leto singled up the middle with one out and then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Spencer. Riptide pitcher, Beach, attempted to intentionally walk Realmuto, but threw the ball away. With an extended backstop at ECTB Stadium at Bicentennial Park, Leto attempted to take home from second base, but was tagged out on a heads up toss by Riptide catcher, Kelley.

After three more scoreless innings, the game went into an international tie breaker.

With Spencer starting at second base for the Force, Realmuto hit a ground ball back to the pitcher, who made a heads up play and got Spencer out at third base. Himes walked and Cameron followed with a single to load the bases with one out with the winning run at third base. Dacey fouled out to third base to give two outs to the Riptide, giving way to VanBrakle. On a 3-2 count with bases loaded, VanBrakle took ball four, which would have won the game for the Force but the celebration came too soon. VanBrakle was called out as the Force players stormed the field and made contact with VanBrakle before she touched first base.

What seemed like a rally killer only pushed the VanBrakle harder, as she sat the Riptide down in the top of the eleventh.

Since VanBrakle was the last out in the tenth, she was the runner at second base for the Force in their half of the eleventh. Friedman quickly sacrificed her over before Pestrak was called out at first base on a ground ball. Leto was hit by a pitch to put runners on the corners, giving way to defensive star of the night, Spencer, who won the game on a line drive to right field. The Force were led offensively by Cameron, Leto, and Pestrak who each had two hits.

Next week the Force will be traveling to Chicago for a four game series against the first place Bandits. The Force will return home for the July 26 series against the Akron Racers at 7:05 PM at ECTB Stadium at Bicentennial Park.