2017 Women's Major Softball
National Championship
August 10-13, Stratford, CT

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Lyons Spirit Eliminate Brakettes from WMS

The Lyons Spirit (PA) topped the Stratford Brakettes 5-4 in the Loser's Bracket Semifinals on Saturday night at DeLuca Field, dropping the Brakettes from contention at the 2017 Women's Major Softball National Championship.

With the loss, the Brakettes failed to win the WMS title for just the second time in its nine-year existence. The Brakettes had won seven-consecutive WMS national titles, dating back to 2010.

Jenn Shellhammer went the distance to earn the win and lead the Spirit into Sunday play at the WMS. She struck out 12 batters along the way, while allowing five hits.

The Spirit relied on the long ball to distance themselves from the Brakettes in the early going.

Elaine Bedell singled with one out in the top of the first to get things started, and went to third on a double by Liz Gall. Jessica Strong followed and blasted a three-run home run to put Lyons up by a 3-0 score.

Liz Parkins led off the second for the Spirit and stretched the margin to 4-0 with a solo shot.

The Brakettes started to dig out of the big hole in the bottom of the second, as Lauren Pitney led off with a walk. After Shellhammer struck out the next two batters, Casey Harding crushed a two-run homer to cut the deficit in half, at 4-2.

Lyons picked the bats right up and pieced together another run in the third, as Sam Sweigart reached on an error with two outs. Parkins followed with a double to the fence in right-center, putting two in scoring position for the Spirit. Shellhammer then helped herself out with a single through the right side, sending Sweigart home for a 5-2 Spirit lead.

Brakette starter Tatum Buckley (3-1) was relieved by Kaysee Talcik after the run scored in the third, and Talcik struck out the next batter to get out of the inning. Talcik would go on to pitch 4 and 1/3 perfect innings with six strikeouts, but the damage had already been done.

The Brakettes did not give, however, as they tried to chip away at the deficit.

Val Suto reached second base on a one-out, two-base throwing error in the third. Suto tagged up on a deep fly to center by Brittany Younan, heading to third with two outs. Denise Denis brought Suto home with a hard-hit, infield single to close the gap to 5-3.

Stratford tacked on another run in the home fifth, when veteran Brakette Amber Radomski singled to right with one out. Gabby Laccona came on to run for Radomski, and moved up on a sac bunt by Megan Hodgdon. The throw to first base sailed high of the bag, allowing Laccona to head to third.

With runners at the corners, Younan beat out an infield single, plating Laccona to make it a 5-4 game. Shellhammer retired the next batter to end the threat and secure the narrow lead for the Spirit.

Despite allowing a baserunner in each of the last two frames, Shellhammer refused to budge. She struck out the side in the sixth and took a 5-4 lead into the last of the seventh.

Megan Hodgdon was hit by a pitch with two outs in the seventh, but was stranded there to end the game, as third baseman Danielle Kitchen caught a soft liner in foul territory for the third out.

The triumph was the Spirit's second win of the season over the Brakettes, after losing the first 68 games in the history of the rivalry.

The Spirit advanced to play the Bloomington Lady Hearts (IL) on Sunday morning in the Loser's Bracket Semifinal. The Lady Hearts defeated the NYC Havoc 10-4 on Saturday night to move into the matchup.

The loss eliminated the Stratford Brakettes from the 2017 WMS National Championship, as the team finished tied with the NYC Havoc for fifth place. The Brakettes finished the season with a 40-5-1 record.

The game was the last as a player for the Brakettes in the storied career of Amber Radomski, who recently announced she would retire at the completion of the WMS tournament. Radomski, who started out with the Brakettes in her youth as a batgirl, will stay on with the club as a coach.

Video Archive
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
SPIRIT 3 1 1 0 0 0 0 5 7 3
BRAKETTES 0 2 1 0 1 0 0 4 5 1
Batteries: Spirit- Jenn Shellhammer (W) and Jessica Strong; Brakettes- Tatum Buckley (L), Kaysee Talcik (3) and Megan Hodgdon
Highlights: Spirit- Jessica Strong 3-run HR, Liz Parkins HR and 2B; Jenn Shellhammer 2H, RBI, 12Ks; Elaine Bedell 2-for-4; Brakettes- Cashman HR, Denis 1-for-3, RBI
Homerun: Spirit- Jessica Strong (1), Liz Parkins (1); Brakettes- Courtney Cashman (1)