Riptide wins 2006 NPF championship
Stratford, Ct -- It was fitting that the Connecticut Brakettes and the New England Riptide should meet in the finals of the NPF championship. It would not only be a showdown between the two Northeast rivals, but also a showdown between the league's two top pitchers, Jocelyn Forest of the Riptide and Sarah Pauley of the Brakettes, with Forest and the Riptide coming out on top, winning their first Cowles Cup by a score of 2-0.
Forest and Pauley, both with 15-5 regular season records were instrumental in their teams reaching the playoffs and both had pitched extra inning shutouts in the semifinals two days before, Forest against the Chicago Bandits and Pauley against the defending champions Akron Racers. It was nature that helped set this matchup as the game was to be played on Sunday, August 27th, however heavy rains postponed the game giving each pitcher an extra day which allowed them to pitch in the finals.
The game was all it promised to be with both teams being held to one hit apiece in the first three innings, the Riptide's a two out Lyndsey Angus single in the first and the Brakettes, Kellie Wilkerson's single in the third. The Riptide broke through in the top of the fourth, aided by a Brakette miscue. KJ Kelley singled to left with one out and Tarrah Beyster grounded a pitch back to Pauley for what appeared to be an inning ending double play, however the usually sure handed Jessica Merchant was unable to handle Pauley's throw and instead of being out of the inning, left the Riptide with runners at first and second. Lisa Iancin stepped up and gave Forest all the runs she would need with a line drive double to left over the head of Denise Denis scoring Jaime Haas who had come in to run for Kelley. Pauley settled down and got Kristin Vesely to pop up and Jen Scavone to strikeout to limit the damage.
The Riptide struck again in the fifth, this time the run being earned. With one out, Lindy Winkler got hit on the arm by a Pauley riseball. Jackie Pasquerella put down a perfect drag bunt down the first base line to reach first. Lyndsey Angus stepped up and showed why she was the NPF Player of the Year by driving in Winkler with a single up the middle, her second hit of the night.
Forest, meanwhile, seemed to be cruising, but got into some trouble in the fifth, as the Brakettes mounted their only threat of the night. After Forest struck out Stephanie Hill, the Brakettes loaded the bases on consecutive singles by Callie Piper, Heather Wright and Kellie Kretschman to bring up Kellie Wilkerson. Wilkerson took two called strikes, battled back, but eventually struck out swinging. NPF Offensive Player of the Year Merchant was also unable to bring in a runner, fouling out to Winkler in left. The Brakettes were unable to do anything after that, with a single in the seventh by Hill being the only other hit for the Brakettes.
Forest was named MVP of the series, pitching all of her team's 16 innings giving up no runs, seven hits and striking out 15.
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National Pro Fastpitch Stories from August 29, 2006
- Riptide wins 2006 NPF championship - New England Riptide
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