LOWELL, Ma. - The New England Riptide was back on Martin Softball field for game two in a series of four with the Venezuelan National Team, and walked away with a 7-2 victory giving them a 2-0 advantage in the series.
Venezuela struck first for the second night in a row, getting on the scoreboard in the top of the first inning. Erica Beach came on strong for the Riptide in the circle, catching Venezuelan leadoff batter Yusmary Perez looking for out number one. Yaicey Soto was next to the plate and laid down a bunt that allowed her to reach safely. Beach retired Denisse Fuenmayo on strikes for the second out of the inning, but a hard hit triple into centerfield by Yuruby Alicart scored Soto putting Venezuela on the board 1-0. Ruby Rojas fouled out to Lyndsey Angus at first to end the inning.
The Riptide was quick to answer the Venezuelan advance in the bottom of the first. Shanel Scott singled toward left field with one out in the inning, and stole second giving New England a runner in scoring position. Lyndsey Angus hit to the shortstop Alicart, but an error on the play by first baseman Soto allowed Angus to reach safely while advancing Scott to third. Angus stole second giving the Riptide two runners in scoring position.
Venezuelan pitcher Marianella Castellanos setup to intentionally walk designated player Erica Beach, but overthrew catcher Sofia Pimentel allowing Scott to score, tying the game 1-1.
Beach quieted the Venezuelan bats in the top of the second. Shortstop Jessica Merchant made a jumping catch on a high line drive to retire Jineth Pimentel for the first out of the inning. Maribel Riera grounded out to Beach for out number two, and Beach caught Yaicey Sojo looking to end the inning.
Castellanos was equally impressive against the Riptide offense in the bottom of the second, but her success in the circle would not last long. After a strong Riptide defense held the Venezuelan team scoreless in the top of the third, the New England bats came alive in the bottom of the inning. Leadoff batter Carri Martin singled to centerfield, and Castellanos walked Scott putting two on board for New England. Angus tripled to left field, scoring both Martin and Scott to give the Riptide a 3-1 advantage over Venezuela. But the Riptide rally didnt end there, Castellanos walked Beach, and Lisa Modglin stepped to the plate with two runners on board and only one out in the inning. Modglin smashed a homerun over the left field fence, clearing to bases and increasing the Riptide lead 6-1. Lisa Iancin singled and Castellanos walked KJ Kelley giving the Riptide two on with two out in the bottom of the third. Mariela Espinoza entered the game following Kelleys at bat to replace Castellanos in the circle for Venezuela. Espinoza got Martin to ground out to Perez at second, ending the Riptide rally.
Beach continued to dominate in the circle through the fourth inning, after striking out leadoff batter Fuenmayo Beach handed the first walk of the night to Alicart. Venezuelas chance of scoring was quickly shut down despite the runner on base as Rojas flied out to Modglin in center, and following batter Jineth Pimentel flied out to Merchant at short.
Scott helped the Riptide increase its lead in the bottom of the fourth, after singling to center she stole second putting herself in scoring position. Merchant hit to second baseman Perez, who threw her out at first while Scott advanced to third. Beach singled to left field, driving Scott home to put New England on top 7-1.
Beach and the Riptide defense continued to shut down the Venezuelan offense through the fifth and sixth innings, with Beach striking out the side in the top of the sixth. Alicart was finally able to catch Beach in the top of the seventh, sending a solo homerun over the left field fence cutting the Riptide lead, 7-2. Rojas singled to centerfield, looking to continue the Venezuelan rally, but Merchant shut down their chances turning a double play on a ball off the bat of Jineth Pimentel. Riera was next to the plate, singling to centerfield and Beach handed the second walk of the night to Sojo, putting two on for Venezuela with two out. Iancin quickly solidified the Riptide win, scooping up a grounder from Sojo and tagging third to retire Riera and end the game.
The Riptide are back in action on Martin Softball Field for game three of the series with the Venezuelan National Team tomorrow, June 16 at 7:05 pm.