Brakettes' streak halted by Akron Racers

The Stratford Brakettes saw its 168-game win streak snapped by the Akron Racers of the National Pro Fastpitch League in Akron, Ohio on Tuesday night. The Racers scored a pair of 5-3 decisions.

In the first game, the Brakettes took a 2-1 lead into the home fourth before the Racers tied the game, and then scored three unearned runs in the fifth.

The Brakettes trailed 3-0 in the seventh inning of the nightcap, before they rallied for three runs, including a home run by Stephanie Call.

Akron’s Brianna Hesson hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth to complete the sweep.

The Brakettes will play in the Fastpitch Championship Invitational in Las Vegas beginning in Friday.

“This will be a great experience for our team,” manager John Stratton said before heading to Akron. “They have been looking forward to this trip since last summer when it was booked.

“We’re not worried about the winning streak, we only want to play well and get ready for the national championships in month at DeLuca Field.

The Brakettes had strung together 168 victories in a row, dating back to June 4, 2010.

Back in 2005 as the amateur Brakettes were preparing for their 2006 debut in the NPF (they finished second in the regular season and in the championship tournament), they played 24 games against professional teams.

They compiled a 7-17 record against the pros and those games all counted on the record.

The Brakettes will meet perennial power Southern California Hurricanes and Storm USA in the FCI tourney.

The Brakettes haven’t faced the Hurricanes since 2007 in South Bend, when they won 10-0. The Brakettes beat the Storm in the 2005 ASA Nationals in Stratford by 1-0.

Brandice Balschmiter (29-1) and Rachele Fico (12-1) will get the starts in Akron, with Sam Greiner (3-0) listed for action as well during the FCI event.

Stratton was without two of his big bats for the Akron twinbill, as Denise Denis, the team’s No. 2 all-time home run hitter, and Carly Normandin, two-thirds of the outfield starters, were unable to make the trip because of work commitments.

However, both will be in the lineup for the FCI as Stratton will have his club at full strength for the first time this year.

The Brakettes won six games last week, as they swept the Rhodes Island Thunder Elite 6-0 and 8-0 on Thursday.

Denis, Becca Carden, and Newtown’s Kate Bowen all had two hits in the first game win.

Fico pitched a three-hitter in the nightcap, while Denis and Ashley Waters each hit their seventh home run of the year.

On Saturday, Balschmiter stopped the Thunder Elite 8-0 on a two-hitter while Waters hit a two-run homer and Alisa Heronema singled twice.

In the nightcap, a 6-0 Fico victory over the Lyons, Pa. Spirit, Waters went 4-for-4 with a solo homer and Carden had two hits, including a home run.

Denis hit her eighth home run and Waters her 10th in a 7-2 first-game nod over the Spirit.

Carden had an inside-the-park grand slam in the 9-0 nightcap win.

Fico allowed a leadoff hit and then retired 15 straight batters for the win.