LOWELL, Mass. - The New England Riptide were back on the field looking to make a clean sweep of the Venezuelan National Team in the fourth and final game of the series. A Jessica Merchant single in the bottom of the tenth inning, and a flawless performance by Eileen Canney in the circle paved the way for a 1-0 extra inning Riptide victory.
Fans got a first look at Canney as she started the game in the circle for New England, making her Martin Field debut. Canney instantly impressed the crowd, retiring Venezuelan leadoff batter Maria Soto on strikes. Following batter Jineth Pimentel flied out to Alex Sutton in right field, and Canney scooped up a grounder off the bat of Yuruby Alicart to end the inning.
The Riptide bats were lively in the bottom of the first, but struggled to produce runs. Leadoff batter Carri Martin lined out to Alicart at second, and Shanel Scott sent a base hit into left field. Scott stole second and advanced to third on a passed ball. Venezuelan pitcher Mariangee Bogado walked Lyndsey Angus putting two on board for New England. Angus stole second and Scott headed for home as Venezuelan catcher Sofia Pimentel attempted to catch Angus stealing. The throw home came just in time for Team Venezuela to catch Scott stealing for out number two. Merchant grounded out to Denisse Fuenmayo at shortstop for out number three.
Canney and the Riptide defense continued to dominate the Venezuelan hitters through the fourth inning. The Riptide gave up the first hit of the game to leadoff batter Soto in the top of the fourth, but left her stranded on base by retiring the following three batters in order. Canneys six strikeouts through the top of the fifth inning, combined with a flawless performance by New England in the field held team Venezuela scoreless.
Though they continued to hit the Riptide could not muster the run support for its perfect performance in the field. Designated player Tarrah Beyster singled in the bottom of the second, and Gina Carbonatto entered to pinch run. Carbonatto was caught stealing, Modglin flied out to Ruby Rojas in left field and Iancin grounded out to end the inning. A base hit by Scott started out the bottom of the fourth inning and stole second but was left on base as Angus popped out to the shortstop Fuenmayo, Merchant flied out to right fielder Yusmary Perez and Carbonatto ground out to Fuenmayo. In similar fashion Modglin singled to start of the fifth inning but was left on base as Iancin popped out to Sofia Pimentel behind the plate, KJ Kelley lined out to Bogado in the circle and Sutton grounded out to first baseman Soto.
Canney continued to overpower Venezuela through the seventh inning, striking out two in the top of the sixth, and striking out three while allowing one walk in the top of the seventh. The game remained locked in a 0-0 tie until the bottom of the seventh inning when the Riptide put on its biggest scoring threat of the game. Bogado handed Carbonatto a leadoff walk, and team Venezuela recorded out number one when Bogado ran in and caught a sacrifice bunt attempt by Modglin before it hit the ground. Iancin laid down a sacrifice bunt that got her thrown out at first for out number two while Carbonatto advanced to scoring position. A wild pitch from Bogado sent Carbonatto to first, and Kelley walked putting two on board for New England. Venezuela was able to shut down the Riptide advance as second baseman Alicart fielded a grounder off the bat of Sutton for out number three, sending the game into extra innings.
Venezuela remained stunned at the plate in the top of the eighth, Perez grounded out to Angus at first, and Canney struck out both Sojo and Riera, retiring the side and bringing her strike out count up to 13.
Martin started things off, singling to left in the bottom of the eighth. Scott flied out to left fielder Rojas and Martin stole second. Angus walked giving the Riptide two on base with one out, but two consecutive fly outs by Merchant and Beyster took the game to inning number nine.
Kelyn Mendoza entered the game to lead off in the top of the ninth hoping for better success against the Riptide defense, but a leaping catch by Angus put Mendoza away for the first out of the inning. Following batter Soto singled to centerfield, and a hard hit to short by Jineth Pimentel put two on for Venezuela and marked the first hits given up by the Riptide defense since the fourth inning. Canney quickly shut down any hope of a Venezuelan rally, striking out both Alicart and Rojas to end the inning.
Marianella Castellanos entered the game in the bottom of the ninth inning to relieve Bogado. Modglin popped out to first for out number one of the ninth, and two consecutive fly outs by Iancin and Kelley prompted a tenth inning.
The international tiebreaker rule was invoked at the beginning of the tenth inning, which places the batter that made the last out in the previous inning on second base. Rojas started the game on second for Venezuela, and leadoff batter Fuenmayo grounded out to Iancin at third advancing Rojas to third. Perez laid down a bunt in an attempt to score Rojas, but Angus picked it up and threw to Kelley at home in time to tag Rojas out. Canney killed the inning by making following batter Sojo strike out victim number 14.
Jocelyn Forest entered the game in the bottom of the tenth, starting as a runner on second base pinch running for Kelley. Sutton laid down a bunt that got her aboard safely at first, and stole second as team Venezuela focused on holding Forest at third. Castellanos intentionally walked Martin, loading the bases for New England. Following batter Scott hit into a fielders choice that allowed third baseman Jineth Pimentel to throw Forest out at home, while keeping the bases loaded with only one out. Angus hit to Fuenmayo at short who threw Sutton out at home for the second out of the inning. Merchant put an end to the ten-inning game and concreted the Riptide sweep of the Venezuelan National Team sending a walk off single into deep left field that scored Martin to make the final 1-0 New England. Canney pitched the complete ten innings for New England, allowing only three hits while striking out 16.
The Riptide return to Martin Softball Field Wednesday June 27 at 7:05 for the first game in a four game series with the Philadelphia Force.