Lowell, Mass The New England Riptide was back at home on Martin Softball Field Wednesday July 19 for the first in a four game series with the Chinese National Team. The Riptide took the game 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh.
Jocelyn Forest started the game in the circle for the Riptide. Forest has been the most successful New England pitcher so far this season recording eight wins with only two losses in ten starts.
Team China came out firing in the top of the first inning. Tan Ying leadoff with a single giving China a runner on base. Zhou Yi was next to the plate grounding out to Jackie Pasquerella at third while advancing Ying to second. Ying advanced to third when Xin Minhong grounded out to Lyndsey Angus at first. Forest ended the Chinese advance earning her first strike out of the night against Jiang Xin to put the inning away stranding Ying on third.
Chinese National Team pitcher Li Qi quieted the Riptide at the plate through the first inning but could not hold the New England offense for long. Angus led off in the bottom of the second sending the ball just short of the centerfield wall for a double. Qi prevented the New England hitters from bringing Angus home. Tarrah Beyster popped out to Yi at second and Qi earned consecutive strikeouts against Jen Scavone and Pasquerella to end the inning.
The Riptide saw its biggest scoring opportunity in the bottom of the fourth. Kelley walked with one out in the inning to put a runner on for New England. Kristine Botto was entered to pinch run for Kelley. Botto stole second to put a runner in scoring position for the Riptide. Angus hit to third on a fielders choice but reached base safely putting two on for New England. Beyster was next to the plate and was handed a walk by Qi to load the bases. Scavone hit into a fielders choice that allowed Qi to throw Botto out at home for out number two. Team China put the inning away as Pasquerella grounded out to Ying at short.
China fired back in the top of the fifth threatening to put the first run of the game on the board. Zhang Lifang singled with one out in the inning. Lifang stole second barely avoiding the tag from the glove of shortstop Destiny Frankenstein. Lifang then stole third giving the Chinese a chance to score with two outs in the inning. Angus dashed all hope of a Chinese advance in the top of the fifth catching a line drive off the bat of Shao Jing for out number three.
The Riptide finally got on the board in the bottom of the sixth. Beyster singled with two outs in the inning giving New England a base runner. Tiffany Stewart was entered to pinch run for Beyster. Stewart stole second putting a runner in scoring position. Stewart advanced to third on a wild pitch and an error on the throw to third by catcher Xue Shen allowed Stewart to reach home putting New England on top 1-0.
The Riptide could not contain the Chinese National Team at the plate in the top of the seventh to put the game away. Wu Di was entered to pinch hit for Shen and singled putting the tying run on board for China. Yu Yanhong hit into a fielders choice that allowed Angus to throw to Frankenstein at second for the force out on Di. Zhang Ai was entered to pinch hit for Jing and was handed a walk by Forest putting two on for Team China. Li Huan was next to the plate blasting a double down the left field line that scored Yanhong tying the score 1-1. The Chinese team rally didnt end there, a wild pitch by Forest scored Ai putting Team China on top 2-1.
New England stayed strong offensively taking the game in the bottom of the seventh. Kristin Vesely singled with two outs in the inning putting the tying run on board for the Riptide. Lindy Winkler was handed a walk by Qi putting two runners on for New England. KJ Kelley walked to load the bases and Angus was next to the plate sending a single into left centerfield that scored both Vesely and Winkler sending the Riptide to a 3-2 victory over the Chinese National Team.
The Tide are back in actionon Thursday July 20 for game two in the series with Team China.