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Brakettes Clinch Spot in WMS Title Game

August 7 - The Stratford Brakettes clinched a berth in Sunday's Championship Game with a pair of victories Saturday, including a dramatic 3-0 decision over the St. Louis Saints in the WMS Winner's Bracket Final at DeLuca HOF Field in Stratford, CT. Both teams were scoreless until the seventh inning, when a bases-loaded, two-run single by Denise Denis broke the tie.

Stratford clobbered the Connecticut Seahawks 10-1 in the Winner's Bracket Semis in their first game of the day, while the Saints advanced to their matchup with the Brakettes with a win over the Dutchess Debs (NY), 2-1.

The Brakettes will await the survivor of the Loser's Bracket in the Championship Game, which is scheduled for 3:00 Sunday afternoon. The Saints will play at 1:00 in the Loser's Bracket Final, hoping to get a second crack at their longtime rivals.

Tatum Buckley got the offense going with a leadoff double in the third inning of the early contest, when the Brakettes scored three runs against the Seahawks.

Jordan Whitley singled to score Buckley for a 1-0 lead with one out, and moved up a bag on a base hit by Hannah Cooper. With two outs, Amber Radomski delivered a single to right, plating Whitley for a 2-0 advantage. Val Suto followed and walked to load the bases, and a base on balls by Britt Lampert pushed home the third run of the frame for Stratford.

The Seahawks scored their only run in the bottom of the third, when Jenna DiLorenzo led off with a walk. A wild pitch sent DiLorenzo to second and a groundout moved her to third with two outs. Teresa Marchitto reached on an error, which sent DiLorenzo home and narrowed the gap to 3-1.

Sarah Bencivenga and Buckley picked up consecutive singles to start the Brakettes' fourth, and a sac bunt by Patti Sciglimpaglia put two in scoring position. Whitley drove in Bencivenga with a sac fly to center, stretching the margin to 4-1. Cooper came up next and singled to right, sending Buckley across for a 5-1 lead.

Buckley started a five-run rally in the top of the fifth with a single and went to second on a wild pitch. A passed ball allowed Buckley to get to third, and a Patti Sciglimpaglia single to left scored Buckley for a 6-1 advantage.

Whitley reached on a fielder's choice, which saw Sciglimpaglia forced out at second. Cooper and Mandie Fishback contributed base hits to load the bases, and a single by Radomski drove in two runs for an 8-1 mark.

Suto picked up a single to move both runners into scoring position, and a pair of wild pitches sent Fishback and Radomski home to round out the scoring at 10-1.

Brandice Balschmiter struck out three in the home fifth to close out the victory, improving to 12-0 for the year with a 12-strikeout, two-hit performance.

The Winner's Bracket Final produced an instant classic, with the Brakettes' Megan Good and Saints' Madi Norman engaged in an old-fashioned pitcher's duel. Neither team could muster a run through the first six frames, despite both teams having multiple chances.

The Brakettes stranded nine baserunners in the first six innings, including six in scoring position. The bases were left loaded in the third for Stratford, when Norman induced a grounder to get out the jam.

The best hope for the Saints came in the bottom of the fourth, when leadoff batter Alexa Holland walked and raced to third on a double by Sammy Bunch. Good got out of trouble with a pair of strikeouts and a comebacker.

Cooper led off the top of the seventh with a double to left-center, and Whitley came on as her courtesy runner. Fishback sacrificed Whitley to third, putting the potential go-ahead run just 60 feet from home plate. Suto and Lampert both walked to load the bases with two outs, and Denis singled up the middle to put the Brakettes up 2-0 and bring the home crowd to their feet. Sarah Bencivenga singled to right to score Lampert, stretching the lead to 3-0.

The Saints threatened in the home seventh, but Good stranded runners at the corners to secure the win. She struck out 11 and walked just one, while scattering four hits to improve to 8-0 on the season.

Norman went the distance and limited the Brakettes to eight hits, while striking out five. She also picked up two of the hits on the night for the Saints.

The last scheduled game of the night, a Loser's Bracket game between the NYC Havoc and Dutchess Debs (NY) was postponed to Sunday morning at 9:00, while all other scheduled contests were pushed back two hours. The winner of that game will take on the Connecticut Seahawks at 11 am, with that winner moving on to face the Saints in the Loser's Bracket Final at 1:00.

The Championship Game will start at 3:00 pm, with the “IF” game scheduled for 5:00.

All games from the 2016 Women's Major Softball National Championship will be broadcast at brakettes.com.

WMS Winners' Bracket Final
9:00 PM Saturday, August 6
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
BRAKETTES 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 3 8 0
STL SAINTS 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 1
Batteries: Brakettes- Megan Good (W, 8-0) and Hannah Cooper; Saints- Madi Norman (L) and Olivia Denslow

WMS Bracket Play, Game 5
12:30 PM Saturday, August 6
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
BRAKETTES 0 3 2 0 5 10 16 1
CT SEAHAWKS 0 1 0 0 0 1 2 1
Batteries: Brakettes- Brandice Balschmiter (W, 12-0) and Hannah Cooper; Seahawks- Missy Pereira (L), Katie Koshes (4), Ashley Mendillo (5) and Meg Hodgdon