Stratford Brakettes begin defense of title Thursday

The Stratford Brakettes will open their title defense on Thursday, Aug. 4, at Frank DeLuca Hall of Fame Field, when the 8th annual Women’s Major Softball National Championship tournament starts.

A total of seven teams are entered in the event that runs through Sunday. All games will be played at DeLuca Field.

Manager John Stratton’s Brakettes tuned up for the tournament by sweeping a doubleheader last Sunday at Lyons, PA, with 6-1 and 3-1 victories over the Spirit.

The Brakettes played the St. Louis Saints in a pre-tournament game Tuesday. They carried a 45-2 record into Tuesday’s game.

Joining the Brakettes in the tournament, that features pool play Thursday and Friday morning, are the St. Louis Saints, NYC Havoc, Lyons Spirit, Dutchess Debs, Connecticut Seahawks and Team Connecticut.

Bracket play starts Friday with the quarterfinals.

Opening round action Thursday begins at 1 p.m. when the Connecticut Seahawks and Team Connecticut meet. St. Louis and the Spirit play at 2:45 p.m.

Following the Team Social and Opening Ceremonies, the Brakettes get the evening session under way with a 6:30 p.m. game against the Havoc and an 8 p.m. game with the Debs.

The final game Thursday night pits the losers of the 1 and 2:45 p.m. games at 9:30 p.m.

Pool play concludes with Friday with the Havoc and Debs playing at 9 a.m. followed by the winner of Thursday’s 1 and 2:45 p.m. games at 10:45 a.m.

The evening sessions, featuring quarterfinal round action, starts at 5:15p.m.

There are seven sessions in all and tournament passes will be on sale. Box seats are $35, reserved with back rests (behind home plate) are $30, and general admission (first and third base bleachers) are $25.

Brakettes season ticket holders receive a $5 discount on each tournament pass.

Once again the Brakettes will admit all youth league teams, players, and their coaches for free for the entire tournament.

Season passes are not good for the tournament.

Stratton’s club will be bolstered by the return of ace pitcher Brandice Balschmiter, who suffered a broken left wrist early in July. She has been fit for a special cast on her glove hand which will enable her to see action.

Balschmiter, a 6-foot-2, 11-year veteran, is 10-0 with a 0.75 ERA. She has 96 strikeouts in 65 innings.

James Madison University All-America Megan Good is 4-0 on the season and she has yet to allow an earned run.

She has 45 strikeouts in 27 innings.

Tatum Buckley has a 17-1 record to lead the team and a 0.82 ERA.

She is also averaging over a strikeout per inning.

First-year Brakette Patti Sciglimpalia is 10-1 on the year.

Leadoff hitter Val Suto continues to lead the team with a .533 batting average.

She also leads the Brakettes with 24 stolen bases.

All-time home run leader Denise Denis, who collected her 700th career hit against the Spirit last Sunday, is next at .439 with seven home runs and 59 RBIs.

Buckley is at .429 and shares the team home run lead with Denis and shortstop Emily Lochten.

All tournament games will be video webcast on the Brakettes network.

Go to brakettes.com and click on the link.

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