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Force outlast Glory in a 10 inning classic

July 26, 2008 - National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) - Philadelphia Force News Release

Chantilly, Va. - In a classic back-and-forth game worthy of two first-place teams, the Philadelphia Force scored three times in the 10th inning to complete a 10-7 win over the host Washington Glory. With the win, the Force took over sole possession of first place in the NPF standings.

The Force (22-12) started the game's scoring in their first at-bat. Clare Burnum started the contest by doubling off of the right-center field fence. Sharonda McDonald moved Burnum along with a sacrifice bunt for the first out. League's leading hitter, Kellie Wilkerson, was robbed of a home run by right-fielder Jessica Moore, but the fly ball was well-long enough to score Burnum on the sacrifice fly.

In the bottom half of the inning, the Glory got that one run back. NPF's top home run hitter, Oli Keohohou, smashed her 10th long ball of the season to tie the score at one.

The Glory took the lead in the second inning. Callie Piper reached on a one-out single. After Moore reached on a walk, Piper was pinch ran for at second base by Jessica Dignon. Force starter Jodie Cox got Catalina Morris to ground into a fielder's choice with Moore being retired at second base. But LaDonia Hughes hit a two-out single to score Dignon and give the Glory the 2-1 lead.

The Force struck back in the third. McDonald reached on an infield single with one out. With Wilkerson at the plate, McDonald swiped her 12th base of the season. After Desiree Serrano got Wilkerson out on strikes, Chelsea Spencer singled home McDonald for her 18th RBI of the year.

To continue the seesaw battle, Trena Peel put the Force back up on top with her sixth home run of the season. This one came with one out in the fourth with nobody on board. Peel also homered in last night's game.

The bottom of the fourth saw the Glory once again tying the score. With one out, Moore drew a walk. A passed ball would move her to second base. An infield groundout to the right side moved Moore to third with two outs. Hughes then singled home her second run of the game with a base hit up the middle. Keohohou followed with her second hit of the night and Amber Jackson worked a walk to load the bases with Glory runners. At this point, Cox was replaced in the circle with veteran Amy Harre. Harre stopped the threat by getting Courtney Bures to groundout to third base to end the fourth inning tied at 3.

Then in the fifth inning, the Glory took the lead. Leah English looped a double into left-center field. Sarah Larquier would break the 3-3 tie with a shot over the center-field fence to put the Glory up by two runs. For Larquier, it was home run number eight.

In the sixth, the Force took their turn getting the lead. Jenna Hall began the comeback with a single off of Sarah Pauly who relieved Serrano to start the inning. Rocky Spencer was summons to pinch ran for Hall and she advanced to second base when Peel worked a walk. Pauly looked to get out of the jam when she struck out Kristen Miller and got a force out at third base, but with two outs, Burnum doubled for the second time, with this one scoring Peel and Friedman. With the score now tied and Burnum at second, Megan Gibson pinch hit for McDonald and delivered a single to plate Burnum to put the Force up 6-5.

But like all leads in this game, it did not last for long. With one out, Keohohou took a Katie Burkhart, who was last night's winner, offering over the scoreboard in right field making the score 6-6 in the sixth. It was Keohohou's second of the night and 11th of the year.

Believe it or not, both teams went scoreless in the seventh inning and the tilt went into extra innings. In the bottom of the eighth and with one out, lightning was seen in the area and the game halted with the score still at 6 all. The delay lasted about 20 minutes.

The eighth inning ended without a winner.

In the ninth, the Force got back on top. Wilkerson legged out her only hit of the game to start the inning. Spencer worked a walk. Savannah Long moved both runners up one base with a sacrifice bunt. With one out and the infield drawn in, Hall bounced a grounder to short, and Jackson came home and got Wilkerson on a close play at the plate. But on the play, Spencer moved up to third base. Peel scored Spencer with a little dribbler down the first base line that the right fielder legged out for a base hit and put the Force up 7-6.

But one out into the bottom of the ninth, Larquier hit her second home run of the night to tie the game. Again.

Onto the 10th inning and enter the International Tie-Breaker rule. With Miller being the scheduled runner for the Force (the one who made the last out of the previous inning), the Force sent in Tory Yamaguchi to run at second. Emily Friedman laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to advance Yamaguchi. Burnum then smacked her third double and fourth hit of the night to drive in Yamaguchi. McDonald followed with an infield single. Wilkerson gave the Force a two-run lead when she singled up the middle to score Burnum and McDonald went to third on an error by the center fielder. After a Wilkerson stolen base, Spencer grounded to third and Larquier, who fired home but was ruled to late to get McDonald. Two groundouts later, the Force would be retired but they go into the bottom of the seventh up 10-7.

Burkhart went strikeout-flyout-strikeout to finish off the Glory (21-13) in the 10th and the end the four hour marathon.

Offensively, both teams had many stars of the game. For the Force, they knocked Glory pitching for 17 hits. Burnum was 4-for-5 with three runs scored and three RBIs. McDonald, Wilkerson, Spencer, Hall, Peel, and Miller all collected two hits a piece. For the Glory, they managed 10 hits off of the trio of Force pitchers. Keohohou had three hits, including the two home runs, and Larquier had three hits, including her two home runs.

For the Force, Cox pitched 3.2 innings and was charged with three runs on six hits. She struck out four Glory batters. Harre yielded two hits and two runs in 1/3 of an inning. Burkhart (9-3), who has pitched the last three days in a row, pitched the game's final six innings and allowed two runs on two hits. Burkhart had six strikeouts on the night.

For the Glory, Serrano pitched the first five innings. The Force banged out eight hits and three runs against her. Pauly (10-4) also pitched five innings and was credited with seven runs against on nine Force hits. She struck out four batters

The two teams play game three of the series on Sunday night at 7:05. An audio feed of this game can be found by visiting www.washingtonglory.com and a GameTracker feed will be available at www.cstv.com/media. After Sunday's game, the teams have one more game in Virginia before they travel north to begin a four-game series in Allentown starting Wednesday night at 7:05.

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