women’s softball Brakettes to face Saints
STRATFORD — The Stratford Brakettes conclude their regular season Tuesday night when they host the St. Louis Saints at 6:30 at Frank DeLuca Hall Fame Field. In the second game, the XTreme Chaos of Stratford will face the CT Legends at 8 p.m.
All Stratford residents will be admitted free for Tuesday’s doubleheader.
The defending Women’s Major Softball National Champion Saints are 18-4, and have won three invitational championships to go with one runner-up finish this year.
The 10th annual Women’s Major Softball National Championship tournament begins Thursday at 1 p.m. at DeLuca Field and the Short Beach Rec Complex with nine teams competing.
Veteran Saints Manager Ed Martz, now in his 64th year of women’s fast-pitch softball, has five All-America players returning from last year’s team that went 6-0 to capture the WMS championship. The Brakettes were upset by the Nook Gold 2-1 in the winner’s bracket semifinals and were eliminated by the Lyons Spirit 5-4 to finish in fifth place.
Pitcher Madi Norman, the 2017 WMS Most Valuable Player and home run champ, third baseman Brittany Krodinger, shortstop Sammy Bunch, pitcher Bailey Lange, and center fielder Courtney Krodinger will lead the Saints into action.
Since the Brakettes and Saints first hooked up in 2004, Manager John Stratton’s club has won 36 of the 40 meetings, but many have been one or two-run decisions. Last year, the teams met in a pre-tournament contest with the Brakettes winning 8-2. Five times they have met in the WMS finals, but they didn’t play in the tournament last year.
This week will mark the final one for veteran pitcher Brandice Balschmiter (10-2), who is retiring. Balschmiter, a 12-year veteran, has a 189-16 overall record, good for fifth all-time in team history. She has 1,778 career strikeouts, fourth on the all-time list. Balschmiter is a former four-time Atlantic-10 Pitcher of the Year and three-time NCAA All-America at UMass.
Stratton received strong efforts from Kaysee Talcik (12-0), of Shelton, and Raeanne Geffert (5-0), of Seymour, as they swept four games from the Spirit last weekend to raise their record to 39-3. Denise Denis, another veteran and the team’s all-time home run leader, needs one more hit to reach the 800-career mark.
This week will mark the first time all season that the Brakettes will have a full complement of players.
“It will be nice to have all this talent at our disposal. This past weekend we were missing our five left-handed jack-rabbits,” Stratton said. Val Suto (.446), Denise (.396), Theresa Kane (.442), Brittany Lampert (.333) and Brittany Younan (.419) did not make the trip to Lyons, Pa.