Softball: Lampert fulfills childhood dream
As a youngster, Britt Lampert had been in the stands at Frank DeLuca Hall of Fame Field watching the Stratford Brakettes celebrate a National title.
Now a rising junior at Concordia College, Lampert was the starting right fielder helping this year’s Brakettes team capture its fifth straight Women’s Major Softball National Championship with a 12-0 victory over the St. Louis Saints on Sunday.
“What I’ll always remember is the fellowship, the dedication and love for the sport from every member of the team,” Lampert said. “It is awesome to be part of a team with such a great tradition.”
Lampert had 48 hits and 20 RBIs a year ago, her first wearing the Brakette jersey. She batted .330 this summer with 10 doubles, three triples and 11 RBIs.
Brakette manager John Stratton said, “There is no player faster going from home plate to first base. With her speed, Brit was able to get on base and score runs for us.”
Lampert is thankful that a childhood dream has come true.
“It is the most surreal feeling to be wearing a Brakette jersey,” she said. “I must have been seven or eight years old when I first got to watch them play. I was playing for the Stratford Breakers and spoke with John Stratton about joining the team.
“I love hearing him tell stories of former players that I had watched and hearing about the great games and championships.”
The Brakettes’ Elena Bowman led off the second inning with a home run to deep right field, the third home run of the tournament for the rising junior at Manhattan, who was named both the Micki Stratton MVP Award and Pat Dufficy Home Run Champion winner.
“It has been my first experience with the Brakettes, and everyone I’ve met while playing for this team has been special. I realize it more and more each time I put on the jersey,” Bowman said.
With Brandice Balschmiter and Allyson Fournier taking turns in the circle, the Brakettes went unbeaten in six games.
Tatum Buckley out of Masuk High had two hits in the 12-run second inning rally —beginning with an RBI single to right to make it 2-0 and closing with a three-run home run to left to cap the inning.
“It meant everything to me,” Buckley said of the Brakettes taking home the title. “After we lost to them (5-3 in the regular season finale on Tuesday) the other day, it is a big deal to keep our name up there.”
Buckley, who was named to the all-tournament team after accounting for two assists and a pair of putouts from her second base position, is living a childhood dream.
“It is a complete honor to have this name across my chest. From growing up watching them, it is a completely humbling experience to be playing with players who have done so much in their careers.”
After Bowman’s blast, the Brakettes went on to send 17 batters to the plate and score 12 runs off Saints’ starter Wendy Macias.
Denise Denis walked with one out and Jess Mouse singled, before Buckley upped the margin to 2-0 when she reached out and punched a 1-2 pitch to right field for a single.
St. Louis, national finalists for the fourth time in five seasons, got the next out before the Brakettes went to work at the plate.
Bri Chiusano doubled, Lampert walked and Elise Fortier had an RBI double, with Lampert going to third, where she raced home on a wild pitch.
Bowman walked in her second at bat of the frame, and after Denis doubled for two runs, Mariel Schlaefer had an RBI single. Mouse singled and Buckley hammered a three-run home run for a 12-0 lead.
Cassie Ruscz and Amber Radomski added singles before the inning came to an end.
Balschmiter, the Joan Joyce Outstanding Pitcher Award winner, set the Saints down in order in the top of the fourth.
By mutual agreement, the teams decided to abide by the 12-run rule.
The Brakettes finished with 12 hits and the Saints were limited to one base runner on a one-out walk to Morgan Allee in the second inning. Bowman threw down to Buckley covering to catch Allee attempting to steal.
Outfielder Fortier, Buckley, Bowen and utility player Denis were named to the all-tournament team.
Denis, who passed Dufficy for the all-time career home run record with 93 earlier in the tournament, batted .625 to earn the Diane Schumacher Batting Champion Award.
The Saints’ Allee was the Alyson Rioux Defensive Player Award winner. The shortstop was joined on the all-tourney team by teammates pitcher Taylor Lockwood, first baseman Megan Stone and outfielder Kelly Kapp.
The Stratford Seahawks’ Brenna Martini (third base), Alyson Chiaramonte (pitcher) and Katie Flynn (utility), the Mass Pride’s Bridget Lemire (utility) and the Lyons Spirit’s Elaine Bedell (outfield) round out the all-tournament team.