LOWELL, Mass. New England Riptide womens professional softball players officially report to their first team training session next week, preparing for their inaugural National Pro Fastpitch league season, at Martin Field in Lowell.
The Riptide, owned by Joe and Lauri Adlman, of Andover (MA), open their 60-game season June 1 versus the New York/New Jersey Juggernaut in Upper Montclair, New Jersey.
Right-handed pitchers Jocelyn Forest and Megan Matthews give The Riptide a strong one-two punch on the mound. Forest pitched her Cal Berkeley team to its first national softball title in the 2002 NCAA World Series, completing the post season with a perfect 8-0 record, capped by a championship game victory against defending champion Arizona. Matthews was a two-time Div. 1 All-American pitcher for the University of South Carolina in 1998 and 1999.
Three members of the New England Riptide are natives of Massachusetts Shrewsbury right-fielder Meg Young, Haverhill outfielder/catcher Sara Jewett and Leominster utility player Lyndsey Angus. Young started and played in every inning for four years at the University of Virginia, where she was an All-ACC player and holds school records for most career games played (261), hits (285), at-bats (881), total bases (408), runs (149), doubles (51), triples (24) and stolen bases (51). Jewett holds 10 school records at the University of Maine and also played for national champ Stratford (CT) Brakettes. She was a four-time America East selection and its Player of the Year in 2000. Angus was a three-time Southeastern Conference all-star at the University of Kentucky, leading the SEC in batting with a .429 average in conference play.
Rounding out signed players on the New England Riptide roster are outfielder Ashley Moore, second baseman/outfielder Nichole Thompson and third baseman Rachael McGinnis. In 2001, Moore became Auburn Universitys first softball All-American player, where she set 15 school records, including the single-season home run mark of 17 in her senior season and career hits (261). Thompson, a former Arizona State star, was a member of the 2004 U.S. Elite Team that captured the prestigious Canada Cup. McGinnis, third-team All-American selection in 2003, holds the University of Missouri all-time career high batting average at .364.
The Riptide hope to sign some of the college seniors they drafted such as Georgia Tech shortstop Tara Knudsen, Alabama first baseman Jackie McClain Stanford catcher Jessica Allister and pitcher Dana Sorensen.
Knudsen is the ACCs all-time career home run leader, while McClain paces No. 3 Alabama (41-16) in batting (.410), home runs (5) and RBI (25) this season. Allister leads No. 6 Stanford (41-15) in home runs (7) and RBI (42) with a .337 average, while Sorensen sports a 26-8 record and 1.51 ERA.
The head coach of the New England Riptide is Ralph Raymond, of Worcester, who guided Team USA to gold-medal performances in the 1996 and 2000 Olympics. His longtime assistant, Shirley Topley, and Burlington High head coach Mary McGinn, are members of his coaching staff.
National Pro Fastpitch is comprised of six teams: New England Riptide, New York/New Jersey Juggernaut (Upper Montclair, NJ), Sacramento Sunbirds, Texas Thunder (Houston), Akron Racers, and Arizona Heat (Tucson).
New England Riptide season tickets are priced at $175 for 30 home games, starting June 16 against the Sacramento Sunbirds. Four-game Flex-Packs are $28.00 and individual games only $8.00. All seating is general admission at Martin Field. Go to www.neriptide.com or call 866-4RIPTIDE to purchase non-group rate tickets. Sponsorship and advertising opportunities also are available.
Full Court Press