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Brakettes Drop Debs in Doubleheader

July 22 - The Stratford Brakettes came from behind to beat the Dutchess (NY) Debs, 8-4, in the first game of a doubleheader at DeLuca Hall of Fame Field on Friday night. Stratford also took the nightcap with a run rule-shortened 9-1 victory in five innings.

Nicole Williams (9-1) went the distance in the opener, striking out eight batters along the way. She recovered from a rocky first inning, in which the Debs' first three batters singled and scored before an out was recorded. Williams held Dutchess scoreless after three-run first inning until the seventh frame.

Emily McDonough and Andrea Schoonmaker started the rally for the Debs with back-to-back singles to left field, putting runners at first and second. Olivia Reeves followed and delivered another base hit to left, scoring McDonough from second. Schoonmaker advanced to third on the throw home, while Reeves cruised into second on the play.

Carly Bilchak came up and grounded to Lauren Pitney, who fielded near second base and threw home to try to get Schoonmaker, who safely slid around the tag attempt (photo). Reeves moved up to third on the throw, putting runners at the corners with no outs. Leanna Feerick grounded to the left side, allowing Reeves to score when the ball was booted at short.

Williams was able to record a pair of strikeouts and a fly ball to retire the side, but the Debs closed the first inning with a 3-0 lead.

Pitney got the Brakettes going in the home second, when she singled up the middle with one out. Jenn Vazquez doubled, and Pitney came around to score on a throwing error on the relay. The 3-1 margin stood until the bottom of the third.

Kaysee Talcik singled between short and third to start the third, and moved up a bag on a sac bunt by Casey Harding. With two outs, Britt Lampert singled to center, plating Talcik to close the gap to 3-2. Denise Denis smacked a base hit to center, and Lampert showed some aggressive base running and went first-to-third. The throw allowed Denis to head to second on the play.

After Jolie Duffner worked a walk, Pitney drove Denis home with a single of her own, giving the Brakettes their first lead at 4-3.

Stratford extended the lead in the fourth, after Noel Lent reached on a one-out error and stole second base. Talcik walked to put two on, before Harding grounded out and moved both runners into scoring position. Val Suto faced an extreme defensive shift with runners at second and third, as the Debs geared up for a slap to the left side. Suto expertly planted a double to left field and found the hole in the shift, scoring both runners for a 6-3 edge.

Lampert followed and singled to left, sending Suto to third. Denis drove in Suto with a base hit, closing out the inning with a 7-3 advantage for the Brakettes.
Stratford added their last tally in the home sixth, when Talcik clobbered her second home run in as many games, extending the lead to 8-3.

The Debs narrowed the gap in the seventh, when Schoonmaker led off and singled to right. Reeves grounded out to Williams, pushing Schoonmaker to second. A wild pitch sent the runner to third. Bilchak reached on a throwing error, allowing Schoonmaker to go home to make it 8-4. Williams struck out the last two batters to retire the side and secure the decision.

Brandice Balschmiter took to the circle in the late game for the Brakettes, improving to 8-1 on the year with a three-hit performance. She struck out nine batters in the five-inning decision.

The Brakettes jumped all over the Debs in the bottom of the first, when Suto led off with a double and went to third on a bunt single by Lent. Denis walked to load the bases for Duffner, who drilled a two-run single to give the Brakettes a 2-0 edge. Denis went to third on the play and scored on a single up the middle by Pitney, stretching the lead to 3-0. Duffner raced to third on the hit by Pitney, and both runners scored when Hannah Cooper reached on an error for a 5-0 margin.

The Debs scored their lone run in the top of the fourth, when Allysa O'Neill reached on an infield single and stole second base. McDonough beat out a bunt single, which sent O'Neill to third and put runners at the corners. McDonough stole second to put two in scoring position with just one out.

After a wild pitch made its way back to the screen, Cooper threw to Balschmiter, who was covering home. The throw was off target and allowed O'Neill to score, drawing the Debs to within 5-1.

Pitney smashed her fourth homer of the year to left field to start the fourth, stretching the lead to 6-1. Cooper reached on a walk, and Gabby Laccona crushed her second homer of the season to center, stretching the lead to 8-1.

The Brakettes took the 8-1 cushion into the home fifth, looking for one more score to close the game out in five innings.

Lent led off the inning with a bunt single and raced to second when the throw sailed into right field. Denis followed and walked, putting two on. With two outs, Hannah Cooper blooped a single into left, scoring Lent with the decisive run and closing out the 9-1 victory.

The Brakettes and Dutchess Debs will meet again on Saturday night in a 7:00 doubleheader at DeLuca Field.

The Brakettes will also play in the Battle of the Sexes 4 on Sunday night at 7:00 against the Bridgeport Bluefish minor-league baseball team. The squads will play a nine-inning fastpitch softball exhibition at the Ballpark at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport, CT.

All 2017 Brakettes games are live video webcast at brakettes.com

Friday night, July 21st vs. Dutchess Debs
First Game, 7:00 PM   Second Game
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
DUTCHESS DEBS   3 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 6 2
BRAKETTES 0 1 3 3 0 1 x 8 11 2
Batteries: Debs- Abby Canning (L) and Jackie Macak; Brakettes- Nicole Williams (W, 9-1) and Jenn Vazquez
Homerun: Brakettes- Kaysee Talcik (2)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
DUTCHESS DEBS   0 0 0 1 0 1 3 4
BRAKETTES 5 0 0 3 1 9 7 1
Batteries: Debs- Carly Bilchak (L) and Jess Syska; Brakettes- Brandice Balschmiter (W, 8-1) and Hannah Cooper
Homerun: Brakettes- Lauren Pitney (4), Gabby Laccona (2)