Homers fuel Brakettes' USSSA victory
The Stratford Brakettes added another prestigious championship to their impressive career resume, as they won the USSSA World Series last weekend at Veterans Memorial Park.
The only thing the Brakettes lost during the tournament was the last five coin flips for home team. It didn’t matter, as the unbeaten Brakettes won all seven games in impressive fashion.
Manager John Stratton’s club defeated Midwest power Hooters of Detroit, 6-3 in the championship game Sunday to claim the crown in the 16-team tournament. Earlier in the day, the Brakettes beat Hooters 2-0 in the winner’s bracket final.
In pool play, the Brakettes beat the Michigan Lookouts 10-0 and the Diamonds Are Foreever of Illinois by 3-0. In bracket play, they beat the Cincy Storm (Ohio) 11-0, Avanti’s Angels of Peoria, Ill., 12-2, and the SGS Magic White of Ohio 8-0 before the two wins over Hooters.
Emily Weiman (6-0) was the winning pitcher in both games with Hooters.
The North Carolina State sophomore pitched a three-hitter in a complete game victory in the opener, besting University of Michigan star Sara Driesenga, who compiled a 31-9 record in leading the Wolverines to the College World Series.
Weiman relieved starter Samantha Greiner with no outs and a runner on first base in the second inning of the nightcap. She allowed only three hits in the relief win that nailed down the tournament’s Outstanding Pitcher Award.
The Brakettes championship win featured the long ball.
Stephanie Call, Elise Fortier, and Becca Carden all went yard against the Hooters, who utilized four pitchers in an effort to reach the ‘if’ game and allow Driesenga, who had pitched three straight games, the opportunity to work again.
After the Brakettes reached Lauren Gevaart for a three-run first-inning lead on just one hit, Hooters rallied back on a two-run homer by Hanne Stuedemann, one of seven left-handed batters in their starting lineup.
Greiner got out of the first inning, but when she yielded a leadoff single Weiman was inserted into the game. She didn’t experience a problem until a two-out rally produced a run in the seventh inning.
Weiman ended the game on a forceout at second base.
Call’s 18th home run gave the Brakettes a 4-2 lead in the top of the fifth before Fortier crushed her 20th home run in the sixth and Carden added her second one out later.
Call was selected the tournament’s MVP, while Fortier was named the Offensive Player of the Tournament. Call, Fortier, Weiman, along with catcher Jessica Mouse, shortstop Mandie Fishback, and second baseman Ashley Waters were named to the All-America team.
The Brakettes outscored their opponents 52-5 in the tournament to improve their record to 56-0 entering this weekend’s six-game home stand that begins tonight with a doubleheader against the Tradition South at 7.
The Stratford Seahawks provide the opposition Friday night when the Brakettes pay tribute to Sandy Hook Elementary School, while the Connecticut Diamonds will be at DeLuca Field for a 7 p.m. Saturday night twin-bill.
The Brakettes close out the regular season next Tuesday night against the Connecticut Charmers, before they open their title defense in the fifth annual Women’s Major Softball National Championship at DeLuca and Short Beach Rec Complex, Aug. 8-11.
Riding a cumulative 74-game winning streak, the Brakettes have compiled a remarkable 244-4 record in the last four years. They have won their last 152 home games at DeLuca Field.