New England Riptide Seek to Repeat in 2007
Lowell, MA- The NPF champion New England Riptide will return to Lowell this week to begin getting ready for the 2007 season. The Riptide will be seeking to become the first NPF team ever to win back to back championships and with the return of their core players from last year plus some strong newcomers, they rate to have a great chance to do so.
Under third year coach, Sharon Drysdale, the Riptide began rebuilding the team in 2005 to add more speed and better defense and it succeeded. The Riptide infield combined to commit only 13 errors in 46 games last year, by far the lowest in the league. Three of the four infielders from 2006 will be in the starting line up this year, the only replacement being Jessica Merchant who played with the Riptide in 2005. She will be taking over the shortstop position from Destiny Frankenstein who was unable to return due to grad school commitments.
The Riptide are fortunate enough to not only have drafted Eileen Canney, premier Big 10 pitcher from Northwestern, but also have all three starters from last year returning. The three are headed by the ace of the staff, returning to Martin Softball Field for her fourth year, Jocelyn Forest. Forest, the feisty Californian turned New Englander (she spent the last two seasons coaching a Boston University and Penn State) comes in with a lifetime record of 38-19. Last year she narrowly missed NPF pitcher of the year honors with a league leading 15 wins, 5 losses and 1.29 ERA. She did, however, win Championship Series MVP pitching 16 scoreless innings giving up 8 hits, all singles. In the final game, she out dueled Brakette pitcher, Sarah Pauly, the pitcher who beat her out for Pitcher of the Year honors. In 2002 Forest led her Cal Berkeley team to an NCAA championship garnering MVP honors for that series also. In addition to NPF, Forest has also done stints with the USA National Elite Team, winning the prestigious Canada Cup among others.
Danielle Henderson is beginning her third season in a Riptide uniform after posting a 7-4 record with a 2.75 ERA last year. Henderson, a native of Comack, NY, is a graduate of UMass and still holds nearly every school and conference record since graduating in 1999. During her career, she led the Minutemen to their first two College World Series appearances. After graduating, Henderson spent three years on the National Team winning many international events, the biggest one being the 2000 Olympic Gold Medal in Sydney. After leaving Team USA in 2002, Henderson spent two years with the Stratford Brakettes, the nation's top amateur team, winning national title both years. Joining the NPF in 2004, she split that season with Akron and Arizona, returning to her familiar stomping ground in Massachusetts in an off season trade prior to the 2005 season. Henderson, again will play an important role in the Riptide quest to repeat.
The Riptide were also delighted to resign Erica Beach, the former Arizona State star who joined the Riptide at the end of June and was an integral part of the Riptide's success both on and off the field. Beach pitched the 2004 and 05 seasons with the lowly Arizona Heat who finished well below .500 both years, yet managed to compile a 19-16 overall record, despite being overused on 2005 due others being injured. When the new ownership of the Heat released her prior to the 2006 season the Riptide was happy to sign her. A native of Tucson, Beach came to Lowell at the end of June and was an immediate hit will both fans and teammates. Beach graduated from Arizona State in 2002 after leading them to two College World Series appearances, including a third place finish in 2002.
Rounding out the pitching staff the Riptide hope to sign Eileen Canney, the Riptide's number one pick and second overall pick. Canney is currently finishing her career with No. 2 ranked Northwestern. Last year Canney help Northwestern to a second place finish at the College World Series and the team has just qualified to return this year. Canney currently has a lifetime record of 91-33 with a tiny 1.62 ERA and 1089 strikeouts in a tough Big 10 conference.
This excellent staff should set the Riptide up very nicely for their repeat run in 2007. Later this week: The Riptide incredible infield.
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National Pro Fastpitch Stories from May 29, 2007
- Rockford Takes Game One from Bandits in 12 Innings - Rockford Thunder
- New England Riptide Seek to Repeat in 2007 - New England Riptide
- Thunder Looks to Start Season on Right Note - Rockford Thunder