Brakettes bounce back from Canada setback

Good pitching and timely hitting propelled the Stratford Brakettes to a four-game winning streak last weekend, as the team began the second half of the season.

The four shutout victories pushed the team’s record to 18-6 heading into this week’s six-game home stand at Frank DeLuca Hall of Fame Field.

Pitchers Sydney Matzko (4-2), who picked up two wins, and Laura Ricciardone (7-2) and Brandice Balschmiter (7-2) each posted a win when the Brakettes defeated the previously unbeaten Stratford Seahawks by scores of 3-0 and 6-0 last Thursday, before they topped the New York Swag 8-0 and 11-0 on Friday night.

Manager John Stratton’s club takes on another local team tonight when the Stratford Breakers 23-U team visits DeLuca Field for a 7 p.m. twin bill.

On Friday, the Brakettes play a split doubleheader against top-flight competition in the NYC Havoc at 7 and the Rampage of New Jersey at 8:30 p.m.

Saturday the Rampage and Havoc meet at 3 p.m. with the Brakettes and Rampage playing at 5 and the Brakettes and Havoc meeting in the 7 p.m. nightcap.

“I was pleased with the way we rebounded from Team Canada,” said Stratton. “Our pitchers shut down the opposition last week and our hitters finally came to life.

“We hit four home runs in one game, and three in one inning, Friday. If we continue on that pace, we will be difficult to beat the rest of the way.”

Denise Denis drove in Shelton’s Brittany Lampert with the first run in the first inning and her sacrifice fly and Emily Lochten’s RBI single made it 3-0 in the third.

Matzko allowed only two hits and struck out nine for the win.

In the nightcap against the Seahawks, who dropped to 18-2 on the year, Denis and Seymour’s Katie Petroski both drove in two runs and Lampert and Val Suto had two hits each in support of Ricciardone’s four-hitter. Ricciardone fanned eight.

Flexing their muscles for 11 hits, the Brakettes crushed three home runs in the third inning of Friday’s opener against the Swag.

Denis hit her 97th career home run, followed by a solo shot from Lochten. With one out, Sarah Bencivenga hit her second of the game.

Denis, Lochten, Elena Bowman and Bencivenga all had two hits.

Matzko pitched the first four innings for the win and Shannon Smith threw three scoreless frames in relief.

Balschmiter allowed only two hits in the second game victory, while the Brakettes had 11 hits. Suto, Bencivenga, and Petroski all had a pair.

Team Canada, which swept the Brakettes in a five-game series two weeks ago, defeated Team USA by 4-1 in pool play of the World Cup of Softball last Friday night in Irvine, Calif.

Former Brakettes second baseman Ashley Waters was just named the head softball coach at Boston University, where she tutored current pitcher Ricciardone, who landed the assistant coaching job at Army.

The seventh annual Women’s Major Softball National Championship tournament will be played at DeLuca Field Aug. 6-9 with a 12-team field.

Tournament passes will go on sale this weekend at DeLuca with season ticket holders receiving a $5 discount on all passes.