Women’s Major Softball national championship Brakettes sweep way to title
STRATFORD — She had to come on in relief Saturday night in an emotional spot, and Sunday night, all she had to do was shut down the defending national champions in a tie game in the fifth inning.
“There’s some nerves that come with coming into the national championship game,” Raeanne Geffert said, and she fell behind the first batter she faced with the go-ahead run on first.
But Sunday was her day. She retired all nine batters to face her, completing 10 no-hit innings, as the Stratford Brakettes won the Women’s Major Softball national championship with a 7-3 win over the St. Louis Saints at DeLuca Field.
“I just focused on what I could, one pitch at a time,” said Geffert, the former Seymour High star, who came back from a 3-0 count on her first batter to get a ground-ball out.
“My curve is my go-to, always. I relied on that pretty heavily.”
After an emotional loss Saturday night dropped the Brakettes into the losers bracket, Geffert no-hit the Lyons Spirit in a 7-0 win Sunday. The Brakettes then beat the Saints 15-7 in a six-homer slugfest to force the if-necessary game, only the second team to do even that much in the WMS tournament’s 10 seasons.
Going back to the ASA Majors days, they became the first team to win a national championship out of the losers bracket since the Phoenix Storm in 2001.
“I went home last night, and I was feeling bad, kind of depressed, like didn’t want to be here,” Brakettes manager John Stratton said. “I woke up and said, ’We’ve got a shot to win this thing. My kids can hit.”
The Brakettes won their eighth WMS title to go with 28 ASA Majors championships.
Shortstop Bri Marcelino, the former Barlow star, hit three home runs in the double-elimination portion of the tournament, winning the Pat Dufficy Award as home-run champion. She also won the Allyson Rioux defensive award and the Micki Stratton MVP.
“We were definitely determined,” Marcelino said. “We were pretty confident going into the first game. Our team was motivated to keep pushing throughout the day and get the win.”
Geffert was named the tournament’s outstanding pitcher, winning the Joan Joyce Award. In her win over the Spirit, only a dropped fly ball allowed a runner to reach base.
Kaysee Talcik went six innings in the first game against the Saints and came right back to start the second. Stratton said they talked as a staff about whom to start; he considered Abby Abramson, just back from a hand injury, who pitched Sunday in the first Saints game for the first time in almost two months.
They decided to give Talcik one turn through the Saints’ order, Stratton said, but he gave her two and a half, then called for Geffert.
Geffert had come on in relief in the winners bracket final against the Saints, a game that spilled from late Saturday night into the first hour of Sunday, when starter Brandice Balschmiter collapsed after throwing a warm-up pitch before the top of the second. Balschmiter, who planned to retire at the end of the tournament, was taken to Bridgeport Hospital by ambulance with a lower-back injury.
“It was a very tough situation, obviously,” Geffert said. “Everyone was worried about Brandice. Seeing her going through that was very tough. We wanted to rally as much as we could to make her proud, and I think we did that.”
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BRAKETTES 7, SPIRIT 0
Losers bracket final
STRATFORD BRAKETTES100 231 0—7 10 1
LYONS SPIRIT000 000 0—0 0 1
Batteries: SB—Raeanne Geffert (W, 7-1) and Sam Rodriguez; LS—Eleni Wechsler (L), Liz Parkins (5) and Kaitlyn Caleen. Home run: SB—Bri Marcelino (6).
BRAKETTES 15, SAINTS 7
Championship Game 1
STRATFORD BRAKETTES011 261 4—15 21 1
ST. LOUIS SAINTS111 020 2— 7 9 1
Batteries: SB—Kaysee Talcik (W, 15-0), Nicole Williams (7), Abby Abramson (7) and Megan Hodgdon; SLS—Bailey Lange (L), Abigail Deane (6) and Katelyn Massa, Rachael Donald (6). Home runs: SB—Lauren Pitney (11), Bri Marcelino (7), Gabby Laccona (3); SLS—Brit Krodinger, Katelyn Massa, Madi Norman.
BRAKETTES 7, SAINTS 3
Championship Game 2
STRATFORD BRAKETTES012 003 1—7 13 1
ST. LOUIS SAINTS011 010 0—3 7 1
Records: Stratford Brakettes 47-4. Batteries: SB—Kaysee Talcik, Raeanne Geffert (5, 8-1) and Megan Hodgdon; SLS—Madi Norman (L) and Katelyn Massa. Home runs: SLS—Taryn Pena, Sammey Bunch.
SAINTS 6, BRAKETTES 5
Late Saturday, winners bracket final
ST. LOUIS SAINTS022 200 0—6 7 2
STRATFORD BRAKETTES200 010 2—5 7 2
Batteries: SLS—Madi Norman (W) and Katelyn Massa; SB—Brandice Balschmiter, Raeanne Geffert (2, L, 6-1), Kaysee Talcik (3) and Megan Hodgdon.
WOMEN’S MAJOR SOFTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Lyons Spirit 7, Nook 23 Gold 0
NYC Havoc 1, CT Eliminators 18+ 0
Lyons Spirit 8, NYC Havoc 6
Stratford Brakettes 7, Lyons Spirit 0
Stratford Brakettes 15, St. Louis Saints 7
Stratford Brakettes 7, St. Louis Saints 3
Tournament awards: Micki Stratton MVP: Briana Marcelino, Stratford Brakettes. Joan Joyce Outstanding Pitcher: Raeanne Geffert, Stratford Brakettes. Allyson Rioux Defensive Award: Marcelino. Pat Dufficy Home Run Champion: Marcelino (3). Diane Schumacher Batting Champion: Brenna Martini, NYC Havoc (.667). All-America Team: C: Kaitlyn Caleen, Lyons Spirit; Katelyn Massa, St. Louis Saints. 1B: Alex Heinen, Stratford Brakettes. 2B: Bri Garber, Nook Gold. 3B: Martini, NYC Havoc. SS: Marcelino, Stratford Brakettes; Sammey Bunch, St. Louis Saints. OF: Theresa Kane, Stratford Brakettes; Val Suto, Stratford Brakettes; Bailey Lange, St. Louis Saints. Utility: Jolie Duffner, Stratford Brakettes; Nikki Cuccio, NYC Havoc. P-Jenn Shellhammer, Lyons Spirit; Geffert, Stratford Brakettes; Kaysee Talcik, Stratford Brakettes; Madi Norman, St. Louis Saints.