After losing six straight games, the Rockford Thunder began their final home series of the season against the Philadelphia Force by winning the first two games in dramatic fashion.
The first game of the series was a pitcher’s duel, where neither pitcher allowed a run through seven innings. In extra innings, the Force loaded the bases with nobody out, so the Thunder brought in reliever Cassidy Scoggins, who, with the help of some outstanding defense, was able to pitch out of the innings allowing no runs to cross home plate.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Thunder also loaded the bases. However, thanks to a suicide squeeze by Chelsea Spencer, the Thunder drove in one run to win 1-0.
The second game of the series brought even more excitement. The Thunder went into the bottom of the seventh inning trailing 5-3, but were able to get the two runs needed to send the game into extra innings for the second straight night.
It was Amanda Williams who came up with the clutch single in the bottom of the seventh inning to score Chelsie Mesa and win the game.
The third game of the series was all Force from start to finish. The Force started off the game with a first-inning home run from Megan Gibson, and were able to manage three more runs in the second inning, en route to a 6-1 victory.
In the fourth game of the series Saturday, July 18, the wheels came off as the Thunder committed a season-high four errors in a 10-5 loss. Starting pitcher Allison Kime gave up six runs (five earned) and five hits in 1 1/3 innings pitched.
The Thunder, however, would bounce back to win the series finale 4-2 Sunday, July 19. Rookie starting pitcher Samantha Sheeley pitched her best game of the season, giving up just two runs and four hits while striking out seven in a complete game. One of the heroes in the second game of the series, Mesa, got the Thunder on the board in the second inning when she blasted a home run to deep right field to score two runs. Two more runs would cross the plate in the bottom of the fifth inning, aided by two errors by the Force, who committed four errors in the game.
The Thunder are off next week and will rematch the Philadelphia Force in Philadelphia Tuesday, July 28, for a five-game series. The Thunder (12-13) enter the series in third place, three games behind the Akron Racers (15-10) and eight games behind the first-place Chicago Bandits (20-4).
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from the July 22-28, 2009, issue