LOWELL, Ma. - The New England Riptide and Philadelphia Force played the first game of a four game series. The Riptide Scored early and jumped out to a 7-0 lead, before hanging on to win 7-3.
The Riptide got out of a bit of a jam in the first. After Riptide starter Eileen Canney (3-1) struck out Sharonda McDonald and Treena Peel, the Force loaded the bases on singles by Chelsea Spenser and Clair Burnham. After a semi intentional walk to Kellie Wilkerson, Canney struck out Megan McAllister to end the inning.
The Riptide did strike in the bottom of the first. Shanel Scott walked to lead off the inning and promptly stole her league leading 14th base of the year. She moved to third on a wild pitch and eventually scored after Garland Cooper walked and the Riptide pulled a double steal which caught Cooper, but not Scott. Scott stole three bases on the night to move up to 16.
The Riptide put up two more in the third, again walks hurting Force starter Kristina Thorson (3-2). Thorson walked Martin and Cooper to start the inning and after Lyndsey Angus hit into a fielders choice, Erica Beach singled to load the bases and Jess Merchant doubled over left fielder McAllisters head to drive in two. Meanwhile Canney cruised through the first four innings racking up seven strikeouts along the way. Margo Pruis came on to relieve Thorson to start the fourth. From there it turned ugly as Pruis had a difficult time finding the strike zone. Three walks, two of them with bases loaded allowed the Riptide to score four runs and take a 7-0 lead to put the game away. Or seemingly so. Canney ran into trouble in the fifth when McDonald Double and Trena Peel hit a shot over the right field wall to close the gap to 7-2. Canney retired the next three batters to get out of the inning. The Force put up one more run in the seventh off relief pitcher Tarrah Beyster and that was the end of the scoring.
The Riptide and Force play three more games, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, all games at 7:05 at Martin Softball Field.