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Pitching, Hodgdon, Power Brakettes Sweep of Maryland Chill 5-0 and 3-1

July 9 - by Ilan Woll - After a day off due to heavy rains, the Brakettes returned to Frank DeLuca Field to host the Maryland Chill, an 18U Gold team which had also participated in the Aunt Rosie's Invitational.

Alanna Molz, committed to East Stroudsburg University, faced off against Brandice Balschmiter in the opener. After both teams were retired in order in the first, the Brakettest threatened in the bottom of the second. With one out, Courtney Cashman singled to right. Abby Abramson then reached on a fielder's choice, and reached third base as Noel Lent doubled to the fence. However, Stratford was unable to score in that frame.

In the fourth inning, the teams mirrored each other. Patty Drumheller lined a single. An error put runners on first and second. A sacrifice by Rylee Kinsella put both runners in scoring position. However, Brandice Balschmiter then struck out the final two batters to end the threat. Meanwhile, for the Brakettes, two leadoff walks and a sacrifice by Cashman produced the same situation. However, Abramson then lofted a fly ball to left, scoring Denise Denis for the home team's first run.

Stratford added some insurance in the fifth, as Hannah Cooper reached on an error. Casey Harding then walked, and another sacrifice by Alexis Bazos put runners in scoring position. Val Suto reached on an infield hit, scoring Gabby Laccona who pinch ran for Cooper. Brittany Younan then singled in Harding. After a walk to Denis, Jolie Duffner drove a ball into the outfield for a two RBI single to give the Brakettes the 5-0 lead.

Meanwhile, Balschmiter was dominant, striking out seven and scattering five hits, walking none. Brandice improved to 6-1 in the shutout. Jolie Duffner's two RBIs were the offensive standout in the game.

For game two, Ally Wieman, who will be joining the Frostburg State softball team, faced off against the Brakettes' Nicole Williams.

The home team struck early as, with one out, Brittany Younan singled and took second on a wild pitch. Jolie Duffner then lined to rightfield for the early lead. Megan Hodgdon then added to this lead in the third inning, powering a changeup over the fence in centerfield for her first home run of the year and the 2-0 Brakettes lead.

Meanwhile, Williams was dominant early, retiring the first eight batters before allowing a single to Maggie Welling, which was the only base runner allowed in her four innings of work.

The Brakettes threatened in the fourth, with a ground rule double by Hannah Cooper and a single by Gabby Laccona putting runners in scoring position, but Wieman worked her way out of trouble.

In the fifth, after Abby Abramson worked her way out of trouble, the Brakettes got an insurance run after Younan singled and stole second. Denise Denis hit a left-centerfield gapper going to the fence for a double, which scored the third Brakettes run.

Maryland struck back in the sixth. After Molly Nies was hit by a pitch and swiped both second and third bases, Reilly Vicendese drove a liner to left for the first Chill run. However, Abramson promptly shut the door with her sixth strikeout. Abramson then retired the Chill in the seventh to earn her second save.

The win brought Nicole Williams to 6-1 on the season. Both she and Abby Abramson struck out six in their performances. Brittany Younan and Gabby Laccona both had two hits in the game, with Younan scoring twice.

The Brakettes return to action Sunday morning for a 10:00 a.m. double header against the Maryland Chill at Frank DeLuca Hall of Fame Field. All games are webcast on Brakettes.com

Saturday night, July 8th vs. Maryland Chill Gold
First Game, 7:00 PM   Second Game
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
MARYLAND CHILL  0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 1
BRAKETTES 0 0 0 1 4 0 x 5 5 1
Batteries: Chill- Alanna Molz (L), Ally Wieman (5) and Meghan Holquist; Brakettes- Brandice Balschmiter (W, 6-1) and Hannah Cooper
 
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
MARYLAND CHILL  0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 3 0
BRAKETTES 1 0 1 0 1 0 x 3 9 0
Batteries: Chill- Ally Wieman (L), Alanna Molz (4) and Jamie Carmichael; Brakettes- Nicole Williams (W, 6-1), Abby Abramson (5) and Megan Hodgdon
Homerun: Brakettes- Megan Hodgdon (1)