LOWELL, Mass. - The New England Riptide was back in action Saturday for game three of the series with the Venezuelan National Team. An unbelievable performance on both sides of the plate helped the Riptide blow the game open in a 12-1 victory.
Danielle Henderson began the game in the circle for the Riptide, putting a halt to the streak of scoring in the top of the first inning that team Venezuela had carried throughout the series. Leadoff batter Maria Soto grounded out to Lisa Iancin at third, and Henderson struck both Jineth Pimentel and Denisse Fuenmayo out looking to put the inning away.
The Riptide bats were alive in the bottom of the first inning, but could not produce runs. Carri Martin blasted a leadoff double into deep left field, but was thrown out at third by second baseman Yuruby Alicart. An error by Jineth Pimentel at third allowed Shanel Scott to reach safely, and the ever-speedy Scott stole second to give New England a runner in scoring position. Following batter Lyndsey Angus lined out to Fuenmayo at shortstop, and Venezuela pitcher Marianella Castellanos retired Jessica Merchant on strikes to end the Riptide advance.
Alicart helped put Venezuela on the board in the top of the second. Alicart walked, and stole second giving Venezuela a runner in scoring position. Alicart seemed to be stranded on second as following batter Ruby Rojas grounded out to Merchant at short, and Yusmary Perez flied out to Angus at first for outs one and two. But Maria Sojo was next to the plate sending a fly ball into shallow center that dropped in for a base hit, despite a valiant effort for centerfielder Lisa Modglin to make it the last out of the inning. Sojos hit was enough to send Alicart home giving Venezuela an early 1-0 advantage over New England.
Castellanos quieted the Riptide offense in the bottom of the second, and Henderson returned the favor in the top of the third retiring both Sofia Pimentel and Maria Soto on strikes. Jineth Pimentel grounded out to Merchant at short for out number three.
KJ Kelley started the Riptide comeback rally in the bottom of the third with a leadoff single to left field. Alex Sutton laid down a sacrifice bunt that saw her thrown out at first while advancing Kelley to scoring position. Cari Martin flied out to Sojo in center for out number two, and Scott singled, sending Kelley to third. Angus ripped a base hit to left field that scored Kelley tying the game 1-1. With Angus on first and Scott on second Merchant stepped to the plate and sent a base hit to left field to score Scott and put New England on top 2-1.
Henderson single handedly shut down the Venezuelan offense in the top of the fourth. Striking out Fuenmayo, catching a line drive off the bat of Alicart, and retiring Rojas on strikes. Former Riptide pitcher Mariangee Bogado entered the game in the bottom of the fourth inning, but was unsuccessful at shutting down the New England offense. Leadoff batter Modglin singled, and an error by shortstop Fuenmayo allowed Iancin on board safely. Kelley laid down a sacrifice bunt advancing both runners to scoring position, and another sacrifice bunt by Sutton scored Modglin putting the Riptide up 3-1. A single by Martin scored Iancin, increasing the New England lead 4-1.
As Henderson maintained her dominance over the Venezuelan offense, the Riptide advance continued in the bottom of the fifth. Bogado handed Merchant a leadoff walk, and a base hit by Beyster put two on for New England. Modglin laid down a perfect bunt that got her aboard safely, loading the bases for the Tide. Gina Carbonatto entered to pinch run for Beyster, and a rip to right field by Iancin scored Merchant making it 5-1 Riptide. A wild pitch from Bogado allowed Carbonatto to score giving New England a 6-1 lead. An error by shortstop Fuenmayo on a hard hit by Kelley allowed her allowed on board safely while scoring Modglin and advancing Iancin to third, giving the Riptide a 7-1 advantage. But the scoring didnt end there, Sutton hit into a fielders choice, allowing Kelley to be thrown out at second while scoring Iancin, making it 8-1 New England. A single by Martin put runners on first and second, and a base hit by Scott loaded the bases for the Riptide once again. Angus hit a fielders choice that allowed Fuenmayo to throw Scott out at second while Sutton scored. A base hit to center by Merchant sent Martin home making it 10-1 New England after five innings. Mariela Espinoza entered the game to relieve Bogado following Merchants hit and caused Carbonatto to pop out to the catcher, ending the inning.
Henderson remained close to flawless in the circle through the sixth inning, allowing one hit while striking out two, bringing her strikeout count up to nine. The Riptide proved unstoppable at the plate in the bottom of the sixth. Shelley Prochaska singled to left field with two outs putting a runner on board for Sutton. Sutton stepped to the plate and clocked a monster homerun over the right field scoreboard, increasing the New England lead 12-1.
Designated player Beyster entered the game in the top of the seventh to relieve Henderson. An unbelievable Riptide defense backed Beyster in the circle, second baseman made an amazing catch on a hard hit ball into shallow right field for out number one. Iancin caught a foul ball off the bat of Perez for out number two, and Shanel Scott caught a fly ball to left field on the run to concrete the 12-1 Riptide victory.
The Riptide is back in action tomorrow, Sunday June 17 at 5:05 pm looking to complete a four game sweep of the Venezuelan National Team.