ROCKFORD, Ill. The Thunder (22-12) came back from an early 3-0 decifit to beat China 4-3 in a pivotal game in the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) standings.
All games are critical in the standings from this point on because of how the race is between the top four teams.
China jumped out to a 2-0 lead after one inning of play, thanks in large part to several miscues by the Thunder on defense. No errors were credited to the team, but the plays should have been made.
The Chinese National Team added another run in the top of the fourth inning to move ahead 3-0, but that's all they would get off of Thunder starter Amanda Freed.
Freed (3-1) silenced the Chinese bats in the final three innings to give her team the chance to win. And it was actually the bat of Freed that delivered most of the damage.
The Olympic Gold Medal winning utility player stepped to the plate with the bases loaded in the fifth inning and drove in two with a single that caromed off the third base bag.
From there it got interesting. Jamie Davison led off the seventh inning with a walk and she was moved to second on a successful sacrifice bunt by Erin Evans. Kristen Zaleski followed with her third walk of the game and then Jackie Wong reached first on her second infield hit of the game. That all set the stage for Freed and again with the bases loaded she delivered. She drove a 2-2 pitch to right field for a sacrifice fly to score pinch runner Noelle Adams.
Serena Settlemier finished off the ball game for the Thunder when she legged out a close play at first base. She hit a hard ball into the hole at shortstop and the throw to first was bobbled allowing Zaleski to come home with the game winning run.
The Thunder will return to action tomorrow night at 5:35 p.m. CDT at Sportscore One for game three of the four-game series with China. This weekends games are the final home games of the regular season for the Thunder.
Abbie Sims is the expected starter for Rockford in the circle.