Lowell, MASS. - The New York Juggernaut extended their winning streak to six tonight, as they overpowered the Riptide 9-2. Jodie Cox pitched five innings to record the win, her ninth on the season, paired with eight strikeouts and no earned runs. Peaches James came on in relief to finish out the game for the Nauts, adding two more strikeouts to her league leading 96. Cox also powered the Nauts offense, going 3-for-4 with five RBIs.
New York took a quick lead over the Riptide, scoring two runs in the first inning. Natasha Watley, the designated player, hit a hard ball to the shortstop Stephanie Best who misplayed the grounder. Carri Leto then executed a sacrifice bunt to move Watley over to second base. Catcher Ryan Realmuto, who drove in last nights game winner, drew a full count walk. Watley and Realmuto then committed a successful double steal to put runners in scoring position for clean up hitter, Laura Taylor. Taylor was called out on strikes with a check swing, leaving it up to pitcher Jodie Cox with two outs. With two strikes, Cox slapped an outside pitch over the third basemans head, and Riptides shortstop, Best, laid out for the ball. Unfortunately, Best could not hold on to the ball, and as it rolled out of her glove, Realmuto cleated home plate for the Nauts second run of the inning.
In the bottom half of the inning, Cox retired the first two batters before walking Riptide power hitter Kellie Wilkerson. Designated player Sarah Anderson then hit a hard ball back up the middle to put runners on first and second. The next batter, Best, hit a hard ground ball in the 5-6 hole to load the bases. With two outs, Lisa Iancin, a member of the 2004 Juggernaut, hit a hard fly ball to deep right center field, but Trena Peel made a running catch to end the threat.
After her great defensive play to end the inning, Peel led off the top of the second inning with a shot that hit off the Anderson Bat Company sign in right field, traveling 230 feet and leaving her at third base. The right fielder registered her second triple in two days, a category shes very familiar with, as last years NPF leader in triples and home runs. A wild pitch by the Riptide starter allowed Peel to score from third base, extending the Juggernaut lead to 3-0.
After Cox retired the Riptide with three strikeouts in the second inning, Laura Taylor hit a one out double off the right field wall. Cox then switched places with Taylor, hitting an outside pitch symmetrical to Taylors shot off the left field wall, run number four for the Nauts. Cox tagged up on Spencers hit to the left field warning track, to give way to Trena Peel, who was unsuccessful in her attempt at the plate.
Cox and the Nauts defensive shut the door again on the Riptide in the bottom of third, as Cox registered her fifth strikeout on the evening. In the top of the fourth, Alicia Smith led off the inning with a hard hit ball past the diving Tide first baseman. A wild pitch advanced her to second base before Jackie Pasquerella was called out on strikes, and a sharply hit ball to second base by Watley moved Smith over to third base. With two outs, Leto drew a walk to give way to Ryan Realmuto, who also drew a walk off Hunter to load the bases for Taylor. Hunters third walk in a row provided Taylor with her 13th RBI this year, extending the lead to 5-0. Pitcher Jodie Cox got the green light on a 3-0 pitch and roped a line drive to center field, scoring an additional two runs.
The Nauts and Cox continued to play stellar defense, shutting down the Riptides scoring chances again in the bottom of the fourth. After a lead off walk, Cox struck out the next Iancin and her battery mate, Realmuto, caught Best stealing on the third strike, both outs proving to be crucial in the inning. With two outs, Pasquerella committed an error to put Rachel McGuiness aboard before Jessica Allister hit a hard single down the left field line. Tides Jen Scavone then sent a ball over shortstop Spencers head, giving New England their first run of the game. Cox showed her composure on the mound, coming back with a strikeout to leadoff hitter Ashley Moore to hold the score at 7-1.
Wilkerson, the NCAA leader in career saves, came in to relief in the top of the fifth inning. She walked Peel before Sarah Anderson, who moved over to first base, threw a ball in the dirt on an attempted double play. Peel and Smith followed with a double steal before Watley knocked in Peel with a single. On the play, Smith was picked off at third base and Watley scored from second base on an erroneous throw that rolled into a vacant right field, making the score 9-1.
The Riptide came right back in the bottom of the fifth inning as two quick singles and a walk loaded the bases with no outs. On the next play, Spencer made an error on a hard hit ball from Best, giving the Tide their second run of the game. Cox got the next two batters out on a pop up and a strikeout, but Nauts third baseman made a costly error that allowed the Riptide to tally two more runs.
The sixth and seventh innings were silent for both teams and the game ended 9-4 in favor of the Nauts. The New York Juggernaut continue their series against New England on Friday and Saturday at 7:00 p.m. The Nauts return home to Hofstra University Softball Stadium on Wednesday, July13th as they host the Venezuelan National Team. On Thursday July 14th, the team will travel to Pates Park in Allentown, PA for an off-site game. For tickets or for more information, please call 516-485-0141 or visit the Juggernaut online at www.nynjjuggernaut.com.
Score by Innings........................................R H E
New York Juggernaut
..211 320 0 9 10 4
New England Riptide
.000 130 0 4 7 3
WP-Jodie Cox (9-1)
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Photo credit Dave Saffran