The NY/NJ Juggernaut professional softball team defeated the New England Riptide 6-0 in their rainy first game of the newly formed National Pro Fastpitch League. In front of an Opening Day crowd of over 1,000, two-time Olympic gold-medalist, Michele Smith, pitched the Juggernaut to victory by striking out 12 and allowing only three hits in a complete game shutout.
Second baseman Carri Leto led the way offensively for NY/NJ, going 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored. Leto is a recent graduate of Northwestern University and is in her first season of professional softball.
After two and a half innings of hitless pitching by both Smith and the Riptide starting pitcher, Jocelyn Forest, the Juggernaut broke through in the third with three runs. Leto led off the inning with a single on a sinking line drive to center. Third baseman Jaclyn Pasquerella followed with an infield single, and a wild pitch by Forest advanced the runners to second and third. Leto then scored on Forests errant throw to home after catcher, Lindsey Collins, hit a ground ball that deflected off Forest. Shortstop Lyndsey Klein then came through with a sacrifice fly to center to score Pasquerella in the next at bat. The inning was topped off when first baseman Kellie Wilkerson, who was walked to load the bases earlier in the inning, scored on a fielders choice.
The Juggernaut scored two more in the fifth when left fielder Gina Oaks lined a double to left-center to bring in both Wilkerson and designated hitter, Germaine Fairchild. Wilkerson was walked to lead off the inning and Fairchild hit a single to left with two outs. The Juggernaut capped their scoring in the sixth when left fielder Gina Oaks scored on an error.
The Riptide had not managed a hit until the fifth inning when right fielder Lyndsey Angus pushed a base hit through the right side. Angus finished the night with a 2-for-3 performance. The Riptide put together two hits in the seventh inning to threaten Smiths shutout, but failed to score with runners at second and third. Third baseman, Rachael McGinnis, managed a bloop single over first with one out in the inning. Smith then struck out catcher Sara Jewett before letting up her first extra base hit of the game, a double to Angus. However, Smith finished off her performance by striking out left fielder, Meg Young.
Forest pitched a complete six innings, giving up seven hits to the Nauts, four earned runs, four walks and six strikeouts.