BRAKETTES 11, NYC HAVOC 1; BRAKETTES 12, Allentown Patriettes 2 Big night for Denis
STRATFORD — She might not be the Stratford Brakette you’d pick out of a lineup as the team’s all-time home run leader. She is out of college over a decade and feels it sometimes.
Still, right fielder Denise Denis continued rising among legends as the Brakettes opened the Women’s Majors Softball national tournament with two wins Thursday night at DeLuca Field.
Denis’ fourth-inning double drove in Shelton’s Britt Lampert with the second run in an 11-1 win over the New York City Havoc in the first game. It was her 149th as a Brakette, passing Pat Dufficy in to second place on the team’s all-time list. Ahead of her is only Joan Joyce with 153, leaving her between two Hall of Famers.
“I don’t even think of them as Hall of Famers. I just think of them as ex-Brakettes,” Denis said. “A lot of times I do think of the fact that they’re twice or triple the size of me, so I do think about that at times. I’m always very happy about what I accomplished with my size, in a wa y.”
Denis had a couple of RBIs early in the second game, a 12-2 win over the Allentown Patriettes. The Brakettes will meet Xtreme Chaos on Friday night at 7. Seymour’s Raeanne Geffert is expected to pitch.
For the two games, Denis went 2-for-4 with six RBIs, including a three-run home run against the Havoc.
“She’s just so good. And she’s hurting,” manager John Stratton said. “She’s got bad feet, knees, elbows, everything like that, but she’s so good. She can run. She can hit. She can bunt. She wants to be around a long time. As long as they make aspirin, I guess she can still play.”
This is the 10th-annual WMS tournament, which began in 2009 after dissatisfaction with the ASA tournament. The Brakettes have won seven of them; the Havoc won the first, and the St. Louis Saints won last year as the Brakettes finished fifth, their lowest finish since 1998.
They are 42-3 going into the double-elimination portion of the tournament.
“This team, right off the bat, from the first game, I don’t know, everyone kind of connected,” Denis said. “It just felt like it was going to be an amazing year, and it’s shown from the rest of the games. Everyone’s bats come alive together. If someone is down, somebody picks them up.”
To g uarantee the nine teams at least four games at the WMS Tournament, there were three pools of three, which each will play a round robin. The Brakettes won Pool C. Nook 23 Gold of Manheim, Pa., won Pool A. The defending champion St. L ouis Saints and the Lyons (Pa.) Spirit play for the top spot in Pool B on Friday morning.
“Thank God the weather held off,” Denis said, pointing out lightning in the distance after the Brakettes’ second game.
“The atmosphere, the people cheering, a lot of different people come. We want to play up to it, too. We know it’s different. This is Season 2. Season 1 was beforehand. This is Season 2. We’re back to 0-0 every game.”
Both games ended early because of the run rule. Shelton’s Kaysee Talcik struck out 10 for the Brakettes in the first game, pitching a three-hitter over six innings. Brandice Balschmiter allowed two hits over four innings in the second.
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BRAKETTES 11, HAVOC 1
STRATFORD BRAKETTES001 163—11 11 1
NYC HAVOC000 010—1 3 1
Batteries: SB—Kaysee Talcik (W, 13-0) and Megan Hodgdon; NYCH—Nicole Mengel (L), Nicolette Trapani (5), Alyson Chiaramonte (5) and Nikki Cuccio. Home runs: SB—Bri Marcelino (4), Denise Denis (10).
BRAKETTES 12, PATRIETTES 2 (4 inn.)
ALLENTOWN PATRIETTES000 2—2 2 4
STRATFORD BRAKETTES411 6—12 12 0
Records: Stratford Brakettes 42-3. Batteries: AP—Jordan Fortel (L), Laura Rau (4), Emily Akalaitis (4) and Libby Sugg, Anna Akalaitis (4); SB—Brandice Balschmiter (W, 11-2) and Sam Rodriguez.