Welcome to the 5th Annual
WMS Championship Tournament
|The Town of Stratford, CT, has been referred to as the Softball Capital of the World, and for good reason. There have been numerous softball teams from Stratford who have made their mark on the national scene, but none of them with the credentials of the Stratford Brakettes.
This is the 67th season of competition for the Brakettes and their 26th year at Frank DeLuca Hall of Fame Field. During their history the Brakettes have won 28 National ASA Championships, three Women's Major Softball National Championships, the 2012 Fastpitch Championship Invitational in Henderson, NV, and last weekend's USSSA World Series in Rockford, IL. They have also won three International Softball Federation World Championships (1974, '78, and '86) and dozens of other tournaments and events while playing in over 25 countries.
The idea for the WMS tournament evolved in the fall of 2008 when 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 tournament reminiscent of those staged during the heyday of women's fastpitch softball. It was their desire to run a national tournament the way it always has been run in this town, one that players, teams, and fans would remember as being softball friendly.
That goal was realized in 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. In 2010 the event had to be moved to the Frank Biondi Softball Complex in West Haven, CT, but it successfully returned in 2011 with an 11-team field in Stratford. Last year's tourney featured an 11-team field.
There is no better place to stage this tournament, said General Manager Bob Baird, who has been affiliated with the ballclub for 46 years, twenty of those as the beat sports writer for the former Bridgeport Post-Telegram. The tournament was the brainchild of team manager John Stratton and Baird. It was our goal to do more for the teams, something that had been missing at ASA tournaments in recent years, said Stratton.
The Stratford Brakettes headline this year's field and they will be out to make it four straight titles. The Brakettes defeated the St. Louis Saints in the last three finals. In 2009, the New York City Havoc won the inaugural event. The Saints are not participating this year as veteran coach Ed Martz lost all but three players from last year to retirement. The Saints have announced they will return next year, which will be Martz' 60th as team manager.
Pool play will be the order of the day Thursday, August 8 with Opening Ceremonies at 5:45 p.m. Following the parade of teams onto the field, the VFW Post 9460 will present the colors and the Coastal Cordsmen will sing the National Anthem. Stratford Mayor John A. Harkins will welcome the crowd. Winner's bracket games are set for Friday at DeLuca Field with no team eliminated before Saturday. The finals are set for Sunday at 1 p.m. at DeLuca Field.
Tournament headquarters is the Quality Suites, located one mile from DeLuca. The Brakettes also give special thanks to 99 Restaurant, Subway, and McCoy's for their support of the tournament.
Bob Baird, General Manager, Stratford Brakettes