|Women's Major Softball National Championship tournament Returns to Stratford, CT, and DeLuca Field for 2011
Ever since the Brakettes were founded in 1947, the Town of Stratford, CT, has been fondly referred to as the Softball Capital of the World. Stratford has been the home of numerous softball teams who have made their mark on the national scene, but none as noteworthy as the Stratford Brakettes.
Back in the fall of 2008 the Brakettes management decided it was time for a change. They opted out of the long-standing Amateur Softball Association tournament to start what they hoped would become a season-ending staple for teams. They wanted to run a national tournament the way it always has been run in this town, one that the players, teams, and fans would remember as being softball friendly.
Their goal was realized with the inaugural Women's Major Softball National Championship tournament in 2009 that was played at Frank DeLuca Hall of Fame Field and the Short Beach Recreation Complex with 10 teams participating. Last year because of a scheduling snafu with the town's Recreation Department, the tournament had to be moved up the road to the Frank Biondi Softball Complex in West Haven, CT. However, everything was ironed out in the off-season to allow the 3rd Annual WMS event to return to Stratford, the site of so many national tournaments and championship teams.
We are delighted to be back in Stratford for the tournament, said Brakettes General Manager Bob Baird, who along with Manager John Stratton founded this event. We had a great run in the ASA, but we wanted to do more for the teams, something that has been missing at ASA tournaments in recent years.
Headlining this year's 11-team field will be the 2010 defending champion Stratford Brakettes, who defeated the St. Louis Saints, 4-1, in last year's final. In the inaugural event in 2009, the NYC Havoc captured the crown with a Cinderella-like run through the bracket. The Havoc defeated the Stratford Breakers, 1-0, in the finals. The Saints were third and the Brakettes finished fourth.
The Saints entered this year's WMS event by capturing the NSA Championship in Peoria, IL, last Sunday. Back in June they played the Brakettes tough before bowing by identical 4-0 scores in St. Louis. The talented New York Raiders, the Lyons, PA, Spirit, who won the Linden Invitational and Ron Scheidt tournament titles this summer, are other pre-tournament favorites. The Shockers, Breakers, Stratford Seahawks, CT Mirage, Shoreline Sting, and CT Eliminators have all played outstanding softball during the summer and are hoping to peak at tournament time.
Pool play will be the order of the day Thursday, August 4 with eight games set for DeLuca Field and three for Short Beach Rec Complex. Opening Ceremonies at 5:45 p.m., including the parade of teams onto the field, and welcome remarks from Stratford Mayor John A. Harkins, will precede the evening tripleheader at DeLuca Field. The August 5 schedule Friday features seven winner's bracket games, all at DeLuca, before the elimination round begins Saturday with 10 games on tap. The finals are set for Sunday at 1:15 p.m. at DeLuca with the if necessary game at 3 p.m.
Tournament headquarters is the Comfort Suites, located one mile from DeLuca Field, while McCoy's Pub, 2399 Main Street, Stratford, is the sponsor of the Team Social August 4 from 5-5:45 p.m.