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Brakettes Set for Finals Showdown after Saturday Sweep

July 17 - A trio of Saturday victories propelled the Stratford Brakettes into the winner’s bracket final of the Pekin Invitational Tournament in Pekin, Illinois. The Brakettes will face some familiar rivals in the game, as the St. Louis Saints also advanced to Sunday’s 9:30 am (Central Time) matchup.

Stratford started Saturday off with a pair of matinee wins in pool play over the St. Louis Saints and East Peoria (IL) Lade Rage, by 4-0 and 7-1 margins. The two victories cemented the Brakettes as the #1 seed heading into double-elimination bracket play and earned them a bye into the winner’s bracket semifinals.

Tatum Buckley took the circle in the early start and outlasted Ashley Koziel of the Saints. After the pitchers traded scoreless innings over the first two frames, the Brakettes were able to crack the scoreboard in the third against Koziel.

Val Suto reached on a one-out bunt single and moved to second on a sacrifice by Britt Lampert. Suto then stole third and raced home on a wild pitch for a 1-0 edge.

Buckley helped her own cause in the fourth with a leadoff double and went to third on a sac bunt by Sarah Bencivenga. She came home on a base hit by Hannah Cooper to push the lead to 2-0. Cooper went to second on a groundout and third on a wild pitch, before Patti Sciglimpaglia drove her in with a single up the middle for a 3-0 advantage.

Suto helped to manufacture a run in the fifth with a leadoff bunt single and a steal of second. Lampert beat out a bunt single of her own to push Suto to third, and an RBI single by Emily Lochten plated Suto for a 4-0 score. The run closed out the scoring, and the Brakettes went on to take the decision in a time rule-shortened six innings.

Buckley struck out seven in the game, while scattering six hits along the way to earn the win.

Koziel fanned five Brakettes in the losing effort, while Jolie Duffner had three hits for the St. Louis, including a double.

Charlie Nolen (3-0) earned the win in the second round robin game for Stratford, beating the East Peoria (IL) Lady Rage 7-1. She allowed just four hits in the contest and struck out one, while walking two.

Lampert reached in the bottom of the first with a one-out single and stole second. Denis earned a walk to put two on, and a long fly by Lochten allowed both runners to advance. Lampert scored on a wild pitch to give the Brakettes the early lead, as Denis raced to third. Buckley smacked a double to the fence in left to score Denis to stretch the margin to 2-0.

Stratford picked up two more in the second, when Cooper led off with a single. Whitley followed with another safety, sending Cooper to second. Patti Sciglimpaglia reached on a fielder’s choice, which saw Cooper forced out at third. After a base on balls by Suto, Lampert singled to right to score Whitley and Sciglimpaglia.

Whitley reached on an error and scored on a bases-loaded walk in the fourth for a 5-0 lead. Lampert delivered her third hit of the game to score Patti Sciglimpaglia to go up 6-0, and a sac fly by Denis plated Summer Damiano, who reached after being hit by a pitch. The 7-0 lead proved insurmountable, although the Lady Rage picked up a lone run in the top of the fifth.

Kori Mescher reached on two-out error and came home on a ground ball double by Jenna Stevens to close the gap to 7-1, but Nolen ended any thought of a comeback and retired the side.

The Indiana Slammers gave Buckley and the Brakettes all they could handle in the winner’s bracket semis, as starting pitcher Shannon Felde continually worked out of big jams. The Brakettes stranded 10 runners in the contest, including six in scoring position.

The only run in the game came in the bottom of the first, when Suto walked stole second. She went to third on a groundout by Denis and scored on a triple to right by Lochten.

Buckley struck out two in the nail biter to earn the win, improving to 12-1 on the season. After giving up a pair of singles in the first inning, she retired 13 in a row to keep the Slammers at bay. She was assisted in large part by a solid Brakette defense.

Suto made a highlight reel catch in the second to end the inning, as the robbed Felde of a sure hit with a fully-outstretched diving grab of a hard-hit liner in left-center. The stellar defense and Buckley were the difference in the game.

St. Louis advanced to Sunday's winner’s bracket final with a 4-3 semifinal win over the host Pekin (IL) Lettes. The winner of the 9:30 (Central Time) tilt will advance to the Championship Game at 12:30 (Central).

There is no “IF” game in the tournament, so the Championship Game will be a single game for all the marbles.

All Brakettes games in the Pekin Invitational will be live video webcast at www.brakettes.com.

5PM Saturday, July 16th
at City of Pekin Tournament
Mineral Springs Park, Pekin, IL
Bracket Play
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
SLAMMERS 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 0
BRAKETTES 1 0 0 0 0 0 x 1 9 0
Batteries: Slammers- Shannon Felde (L) and Teresa Aguilar; Brakettes- Tatum Buckley (W, 12-1) and Hannah Cooper

Saturday, July 16th
at City of Pekin Tournament
Mineral Springs Park, Pekin, IL
Pool Play
First Game, 10:00 AM EDT
  Second Game, 11:30 AM EDT
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
STL SAINTS 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 0
BRAKETTES 0 0 1 2 1 x 4 8 0
Batteries: Saints- Ashley Koziol (L) and Olivia Denslow; Brakettes- Tatum Buckley (W, 11-1) and Hannah Cooper
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
LADY RAGE 0 0 0 0 1 1 4 1
BRAKETTES 2 2 0 3 x 7 6 1
Batteries: Rage- Liz Hippen (L) and Gabrielle Mueller; Brakettes- Charlie Nolen (W, 3-0) and Hannah Cooper