The New England Riptide captured its first National Pro Fastpitch championship Monday night with a 2-0 win over the Connecticut Brakettes in the league’s championship game held in Stratford, Ct.
Facing the league’s top pitcher in Sarah Pauly and NPF’s regular season runner-up, the Riptide got seven strikeouts and a shutout from Jocelyn Forest that allowed New England to capture the win via a run in each the fourth and fifth innings.
Forest and Pauly battled to a deadlock through the first three innings, but K.J. Kelley got the offense going for National Fastpitch Coaches College Director Sharon Drysdale’s New England squad. With one away in the inning, Kelley singled and advanced into scoring position as Tarrah Beyster reached on an error by the Brakettes shortstop.
New England put Jaime Haas at second to run for Kelley, and she crossed the plate with the game’s opening run on Lisa Iancin’s RBI double.
The Riptide extended the lead to 2-0 with an additional run off Pauly in the following frame. Just as in the fourth, the offense sparked with one out. Lindy Winkler reached after being hit by a pitch and moved to second on Jackie Pasquerella’s single. Lyndsey Angus, the league Player of the Year who collected a pair of hits in the game, delivered the second run with her base hit that plated Winkler.
The added run was big for Forest and the Riptide as the Brakettes threatened in the home half of the fifth. Consecutive singles by Callie Piper, Heather Wright and Kelly Kretschman loaded the bases with one out, but Forest got Kellie Wilkerson to strike out and offensive Player of the Year Jessica Merchant to fly out to end the threat.
New England is the third champion in the league's three years, joining 2005 winner Akron and inaugural winner New York/New Jersey.