Lowell, Ma. – The Philadelphia Force came to town in first place to continue their rivalry with the New England Riptide after the two teams split games in Philadelphia. It would be Eileen Canney (4-2) for the Riptide versus 2008 World Series winner Katie Burkhart. The Force scored five runs in the first two innings to win the first game of the series 5-0.
The Force got on the board in the top of the first. Clare Burnum slapped an eye high, two strike pitch to left field for a single. After advancing to second on a passed ball, Sharonda McDonald beat out a slow roller to shortstop and proceeded to steal second, putting runners at first and second. Canney almost got out of the jam getting Megan Gibson and Jenna Hall to ground out, but consecutive walks to Kellie Wilkerson and Trena Peel scored the Force’s first run. The second came when Kristen Miller hit a high chopper which, resulted in no play.
The Force scored three more runs, all unearned in the second to take a 5-0 lead. Chelsea Spencer led off with a single and was sacrificed to second. McDonald grounded back to Canney who bobbled the ball for the first error of the inning. The next error took place on the next play when Kelley could not handle the throw from Jess Merchant on a ground ball play at the plate. The score at the end of two was 5-0 and it remained that way.
Burkhart pitched well in picking up her first professional win, giving up no runs, four hits (two by Lyndsey Angus) and striking out six. She allowed no walks. Canney pitched much better than the score indicates allowing only two earned runs in the first inning, striking out 11 to increase her league lead to 48 and walking three.
The two teams continue the four game series on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. All games are at 7:05 at Martin Softball Field. Thursday features a visit from Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and the Tasmanian Devil.