Lowell, Mass.- The New England Riptide and the Chicago Bandits played the first of a four game series here tonight. It was the first meeting of the
teams since their last game in the 2006 playoffs. Coincidently, the starting pitchers were Jocelyn Forest for the Riptide and Gina Oakes for the Bandits, the same starters as the last game who pitched eight scoreless innings each. Neither pitcher was as good tonight.
The Riptide threatened early and finally broke through in the bottom of the third when Carri Martin led off the inning with a walk and Shanel Scott beat out an infield ground ball. Lyndsey Angus hit into a fielders choice with Martin being thrown out at third. Garland Cooper loaded the bases with a shot off the glove of third baseman Stacey May for a single and Scott scored when Jess Merchant grounded out to second.
The Bandits got it back in the fourth. May led off with a single through the middle and was sacrificed to second by Kristy Fox. A walk to Jaime Clarke, Forests only walk of the game, followed. Forest looked good when Nicole Trimboli grounded into a force at third, but Lindsay Schutzler singled to tie up the game.
The Bandits took the lead with three in the top of the fifth on hits by Willis, Galindo, May (4 for 4, triple) and Fox. The Bandits chased Forest who gave way to Erica Beach, who eventually picked up the win. The Bandits seemed in control going into the sixth, with rain coming down hard and a three run lead, however Oakes could not hold it. Garland Cooper ripped a single, her second hit of the night and Merchant followed with her second homerun of the year, a line drive over the left field fence.
The Riptide were just beginning. Tarrah Beyster singled and Lisa Iancin bunted and was safe on first when Galindo dropped the throw to first. KJ Kelley doubled to left center to put the Riptide up 5-4. Amy Harre was brought in to relieve Oakes, but it was too late. The Riptide scored twice more to take the first game of the series, 7-4.
The two teams continue the series Friday and Saturday at 7:05 and Sunday at 5:05. Friday features guest announce June Knight of Oldies 103.