Brakettes Win 27th National Championship!
|STRATFORD BRAKETTES WIN A RECORD 27th NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
The Stratford Brakettes are champions again!
STRATFORD Aug 14- The team no one expected had a chance to win the ASA National Womens Major Fastpitch championship after the franchise opted for the professional ranks, the Stratford Brakettes surprised the softball world when they swept seven games in Amherst, NY, to capture their 27th National Championship.
A 7-3 victory over the Southern California Sliders of Yoma Linda, CA, capped the Brakettes march to their record-setting title. The victory snapped a deadlock with the New York Yankees for bragging rights as the most successful sports team in history. Both teams had 26 championships entering 2006.
"It was a great demonstration of softball by a bunch of determined and talented young ladies," said Bob Baird, the general manager for both the amateur Stratford Brakettes and National Pro Fastpitch league Connecticut Brakettes. "They deserve all the credit in the world. No one gave them a chance when the season began and even some of the old guard didnt think it was possible this year. But they went out and accomplished their goal."
In winning their fourth title in the last five years, the Stratford Brakettes did it with almost an entirely new lineup and a brand new coaching staff. Under the tutelage of manager Jay Stratton, son of veteran NPF manager John Stratton, and coach Rich Roessner, the Stratford Brakettes finished the season with a 21-game winning streak and a final 46-4 record. Two of the losses were to the Connecticut Brakettes by 2-0 in 9-innings and 1-0.
The victory marked the only time in ASA history a father and son combination have both won national championships. John Stratton directed the Brakettes to four amateur titles before moving on to the pro game this year.
While posting a 7-0 record at the Amherst, NY, Girls Softball Complex, which included two games in pool play for the first time ever in ASA championship play, the Stratford Brakettes capped the tournament by winning four classic confrontations.
At this time last year no one even thought it would be possible.
"Once the 2005 season had finished and we started planning for our initial professional season, Dave Carpenter (Brakettes softball chairman) decided that we had to have an amateur team again. Carpenter stated that we owed it to the ASA and our loyal fans," added Baird.
Until the team took the field in early June, the season outlook was paper thin. However, great recruiting by Roessner and a cohesive working effort between Roessner and Jay Stratton proved too much for the rest of the softball world to handle.
Candice Baker, a player who didnt even figure in the teams plans at the seasons start, turned out to be Sundays heroine as she pitched two beautiful games as the Brakettes beat the Sliders following a 6-0 shutout over the Storm USA of Corona, CA, in the winners bracket semifinal.
Baker, a senior at Cal State Fullerton who carried a 6-0 record into the tournament, usually played third base or outfield and batted cleanup. She allowed only two earned runs in the final as she put together a string of 12 straight scoreless innings before the Sliders cut into a 4-0 Brakettes lead in the top of the sixth inning with two runs. The Brakettes quickly responded with three runs in their half and then Baker allowed a harmless unearned marker in the seventh to cap a fantastic tournament performance.
In the win over the Sliders, Baker allowed six hits and struck out 10 batters. She also added three hits, including an RBI triple in the sixth inning.
Hayle Guess RBI triple scored Lovena Chaput with the first run in the third inning. The Brakettes made it 4-0 in the fourth as Baker walked and was forced at second base by Killian Roessner. Pinch-runner Jill Cimminello advanced to second base on a walk to Courtney Bures. Chelsi Lakes RBI single scored Bures and both runners moved into scoring position on the throw home. Chaput then delivered a two-run ground single to right field. Jenna Macchis RBI double, Whitney Mollicas RBI double and Bakers triple produced three runs in the seventh inning.
Baker allowed only three base-runners in the shutout win over Storm USA, which finished third in the event for the second straight year. She struck out 12 Storm hitters, while she had an RBI double in a four-run third inning rally.
Chaput started the rally with a triple to right field. She then scored on Macchis double to left center. Guess sacrificed Macchi to third and was safe on an error. She promptly stole second. A wild pitch allowed Macchi to score with Guess taking third. Bakers double and Bures bloop single to center capped the scoring. Mollicas two-run single in the fourth inning accounted for the final two runs as the Brakettes had 11 hits off Storm pitching. Macchi, Guess and Mollica all had two hits.
The game of the tournament took place in the winners semifinal Saturday afternoon when the Brakettes nipped the Sliders 6-5 in eight innings, utilizing the international tie-breaker at the start of the frame with the score deadlocked at 4-4.
After building a 2-0 lead on Bures RBI single in the second inning and Mollicas run-scoring double in the third inning, the Brakettes fell behind 4-2 when the Sliders reached Chrissy Ownes for four runs on four hits in the bottom of the third inning. The Brakettes answered in a hurry with Mollica and Baker putting down perfectly executed suicide squeeze bunts in the fourth inning.
With runner Allison Twarowski on second base to open the top of the eighth inning, Chaput fell behind Kia Fennel 0-2 before she singled to right field, sending Twarowski to third. Chaput stole second base. Macchi then surprised the Sliders with the Brakettes third suicide squeeze play as Chaput moved to third base, where she scored on Guess single to center.
The Slider got a run back in the seventh before Dani Hofer (19-1), who pitched five relief innings for the win, retired Deann Young on a grounder to Macchi at second base to end the game. Hofer allowed only one hit and struck out three batters. Bures and Chaput both had three hits and Mollica added a pair.
In Saturday mornings quarter-final, the Brakettes edged the Saints of St. Louis 1-0 as Mollica hit a two-out first inning home run over the left field fence. Hofer allowed only two hits and struck out six. She had to work out of one jam.
Ashley Hall led off the third inning with a triple to right field. Hofer then struck out Christa Gammon before walking Jena Bruck. Natalie Piper popped out to Mollica at first base and Beth Wade popped out to Bures at shortstop to end the inning.
Bures had two of the Brakettes eight hits.
The Brakettes downed the Western New York Stampeded 17-0 in a three-inning mercy game in the first round. Owens picked up the win with an abbreviated no-hitter and five strikeouts. Catcher Killian Roessner had three hits and four RBI, while Kim Ovittore delivered two hits and three RBI. Mollica, Bures and Twarowski all added two hits.
The Brakettes opened tournament play with wins over the Staten Island Saints (5-0) on Thursday and the New York Freedom (10-1) Friday in pool play. Hofer, the winner, and Robyn King divided the pitching chores in the win over the Saints, while Brandice Balschmiter (14-2) and Owens combined in the win over the Freedom, which ended after five innings because of the eight-run mercy rule.
Defeat So. Cal. Sliders 7-3
ASA Press Release
|STRATFORD BRAKETTES CONCLUDE REGULAR SEASON AT 39-4; TEAM HEADS TO ASA WOMENS MAJOR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
STRATFORD Aug 7- One of the best kept softball secrets plays its home games right here in Stratford. The Stratford Brakettes, the amateur sisters of the professional Connecticut Brakettes, concluded their regular season with a 39-4 record following doubleheader sweeps Saturday and Sunday at Frank DeLuca Hall of Fame Field.
Armed with some of the finest collegiate talent in the nation, the Stratford Brakettes head to Amherst, NY, in search of their 27th National A.S.A. Womens Major Fastpitch Championship. The tournament begins Thursday (August 10) at the Amherst Girls Softball Complex.
The Stratford Brakettes will join 13 other teams in the Womens Major Championships, which are being held in the Buffalo, NY, suburb for the first time. Last year the Brakettes finished runner-up to the Schutt Hurricanes of California, ending a string of three straight national titles. The Hurricanes will not be defending their crown.
Expected to provide the top competition in the tournament is Storm USA, last years third-place finisher, and the Sliders, the 2005 Class A champions. Both teams are from California. Another touted team is the St. Louis Saints, who finished fourth in 2004.
The Topton VIPs, Allentown Blasters and New York Freedom, three teams on the Brakettes 2006 schedule, are all entered in the event. The other teams include the Staten Island Saints and local Buffalo teams in the La Nova Wings, Buffalo Bisons, WNY Xtreme, two Amherst Lightning teams and WNY Stampede.
"Weve played under the radar all year," said Brakettes General Manager Bob Baird. "With all the attention on the professional Connecticut Brakettes, there was no pressure on these kids at all. It was something unusual in Brakettes softball history."
This year is the first time the womens major will utilize pool play prior to the double-elimination format. The field has been divided into two four-team pools and two three-team pools. The Brakettes are in the same pool with the Staten Island Saints and New York Freedom.
The teams are seeded into the double-elimination bracket based on their finish in pool play. The Brakettes begin Thursday at 3 p.m. when they play the Saints. Their other pool game is Friday at 11 a.m. against the Freedom. The tournament proper begins Friday afternoon and continues through Sunday.
Manager Jay Stratton and Coach Rich Roessner have a roster that features pitching depth, plenty of offensive power and defensive prowess. Entering the nationals the only question mark is the status of right fielder Lauren Castle (.459, 27 RBI), who suffered an ankle sprain in Sundays wins over the Stratford Seahawks.
In Sundays wins, the Brakettes captured the opener 7-0 behind the combined two-hit pitching of Robyn King (5-1) and Candice Baker. Trumbulls Shari DAmico had both Seahawks hits. Jenna Macchi was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI, while Keri Stratton had two hits, Baker a triple and Hayle Guess a double and RBI. King gave up both hits and fanned 12 in four innings, while Baker struck out seven batters in three innings.
Dani Hofer (15-1) and Brandice Balschmiter split the pitching in the nightcap. Macchi went 3-for-4 with a double, triple and two RBI. Whitney Mollica was 2-for-3 and Guess doubled and scored twice. DAmico added another hit in the game.
On Saturday the Brakettes beat the Classics 8-0 in six innings and 9-0 in five innings, scoring eight times in the first inning of the latter game. Hofer and Balschmiter combined for the no-hitter in the first game while Courtney Bures and Mollica had two hits each. Baker added a 2-run triple. King and Baker (6-0) split the pitching chores in the nightcap with Baker striking out nine batters in three innings.
Allison Twarowski had three hits with a double, home run and three RBI, while Macchi had a double, triple and RBI. Mollica hit a home run, her seventh of the year, and drove in three, while Kim Ovittore had two hits, including a double and RBI.
Heading into the national meet the Brakettes have belted 34 home runs in what amounted to a major rebuilding year. It currently ranks as the eighth best in team history. Last years club hit 36, the sixth best total.
Killian Roessner, the starting catcher at LSU, leads the team with a .500 average and 37 RBI. She has seven doubles, four triples and five home runs. Bures (.423), Mollica (.418, 30 RBI), Macchi (.379) and Twarowski (.387) are other top hitters.
In addition to Hofers team-best 15-1 record, Balschmiter is 13-2. Baker has a 6-0 record and has allowed only one hit in 32 innings with 71 strikeouts. The team is further bolstered for the nationals with the addition of 6-foot-1 University of Alabama standout Chrissy Owens, who has been on the roster all season but unable to participate because of summer school commitments. Owens helped the Crimson Tide reach the College World Series in June. Her sister Jen is a member of the Connecticut Brakettes and her older brother Henry was recently called up from Tidewater to pitch for the New York Mets.
STRATFORD BRAKETTES SWEEP BOB CARAVAN TOURNEY TITLE; TEAM RETURNS HOME FOR REMAINDER OF REGULAR SEASON
The temperature hovered in the mid-90s all weekend and there was no relief in sight as the Stratford Brakettes appeared in the Bob Caravan Tournament in Allentown, PA, for the first time since 2003. The only thing hotter than the weather was the Brakettes bats and pitching staff as they won six straight games to capture the championship.
It was the fifth Caravan championship for the Brakettes, who also won the event in 2000 through 2003. The Brakettes did it in impressive fashion as they outscored their opponents 54-2 in the tournament, capping off with an 8-1 triumph over the Topton VIPs in the finals.
While extending their winning streak to 12 in a row, the Brakettes now return to Frank DeLuca Hall of Fame Field for the remainder of the regular season as they prepare to capture the National ASA Womens Major championship in Amherst, NY, August 10-13.
Riding a 24-3 overall record entering a doubleheader with the Polar Crush of Worcester, MA, on Wednesday (July 19), the Stratford Brakettes have three doubleheaders at DeLuca Field this weekend. They host the Stratford Seahawks at 7 p.m. Friday (July 21) before they open a four-game series with the Quebec Rebelles of Canada Saturday (July 22) at 7 p.m. and Sunday (July 23) at 10 a.m.
"The kids really played well," said Coach Rich Roessner, who handled the club last week in Manager Jay Strattons absence. "Our pitching was simply great and the hitting was unbelievable. We didnt play one game on a fenced-in field. If we had, we might have hit 12 home runs."
Dani Hofer, a standout at LSU, improved her record to 11-1 with a one-hit, 10-strikeout effort against Topton. The VIPs run was unearned in the third inning. Lauren Castle went 3-for-3 with a double, triple and RBI, while Killian Roessner had three hits and drove in four runs. Both players are from LSU. Cal State Fullertons Candice Baker also had three hits and an RBI.
In the semifinals Sunday, Baker (3-0) walked the first batter she faced and then retired the next 18 for her second no-hitter of the season. She also struck out 12 and had four hits in five at bats with a triple and RBI. Chelsi Lake, of Baylor, Delawares Kim Ovittore (two RBI), Castle (three RBI) and Oregons Lovena Chaput all went 2-for-4 at the plate. Amber Radomski and Ali Twarowski of Fordham (two RBI) also added two hits.
In Sundays quarterfinals, Brandice Balschmiter of UMass (8-2) struck out nine in a 7-1 win over the New York Freedom. Baker went 3-for-4 with a triple and three RBI, while Roessner had three hits and drove in a run and Lake added two safeties and an RBI.
The Brakettes were a perfect 3-0 in pool play with wins over the New Jersey Thunder (9-0), Allentown Spirit (9-0) and Top Gun (8-0) on Saturday. All three games were stopped by the mercy rule after five innings.
Baker allowed one hit and struck out 11 to stop the Thunder, while Ovittore had two hits and an RBI and Twarowski added two hits and three RBI. Hofer scattered two hits and struck out eight, while Castle had three hits and three RBI. Baker and Roessner both added two hits in the win over the Spirit. Balschmiter hurled a five-inning perfect game and fanned five Top Gun batters. Hayle Guess had two hits, including a home run, and drove in three runs, while Baker went 2-for-3 with a double and home run and two RBI.
Prior to the tournament the Brakettes swept the Lehigh Valley Lady Gators last Friday night at Pates Park by scores of 8-1 and 10-1 as they combined for 23 hits. Hofer and Balschmiter were the winning pitchers.
NOTES- The Brakettes also defeated Topton (2003) 2-0 and (2002) 6-0 in the Caravan championship game. In 2003 and 2001 they didnt allow a run in going 6-0. The 2002 title team won seven games and outscored the opposition 44-3. The Stratford Brakettes lost their first-ever Caravan game in 2000 to the Allentown Aces 1-0, but they then won five straight, outscoring their rivals 33-0. . . The Brakettes played without third baseman Whitney Mollica (.347, 17 RBI), shortstops Courtney Bures (.423) and Jenna Macchi (.370), pitcher Robyn King (2-0, .333) and utility player Keri Stratton (.333) last weekend.
|CONNECTICUT AND STRATFORD BRAKETTES WILL HOST DOMINICAN REPUBLIC IN SPLIT DOUBLEHEADER MONDAY NIGHT, JULY 3
The Connecticut Brakettes and Stratford Brakettes will provide the opposition Monday night, July 3rd for the Dominican Republic National softball team in a split doubleheader at Frank DeLuca Hall of Fame Field.
The Connecticut Brakettes of the National Pro Fastpitch League take on the Dominican Republic at 6:05 p.m. with the amateur Stratford Brakettes playing the nightcap, 15 minutes after the completion of the first game. On July 4, the ASA Stratford Brakettes will play the Dominican Republic in another doubleheader starting at 6:05 p.m.
Manager John Strattons Connecticut Brakettes are 10-5 in NPF standings (12-5 overall), percentage points behind the second place Akron Racers (13-6). The Chicago Bandits (10-3) lead the league. The Stratford Brakettes are 10-2 after losing a doubleheader to their professional rivals Saturday night at DeLuca Field by scores of 2-0 in nine innings and 1-0. (See CT Brakettes Photo Gallery)
"They (Stratford Brakettes) have quite a team," admired John Stratton, who had served as their manager for the past 12 years before leading the Connecticut Brakettes into the professional ranks this year. The NPF Brakettes won the first game on Stephanie Bests two-run, walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth, while Kellie Wilkersons RBI double drove in Kelly Kretschman with the games only run in the third inning of the nightcap.
Nikki Myers (4-1, 1.65 ERA in NPF) will pitch Monday nights game for the pros, while Dani Hofer (5-1) of Louisiana State, who had ten strikeouts in the first-game loss Saturday, starts for the Stratford Brakettes against the Dominican Republic.
Following Mondays games, the Connecticut Brakettes will be on the road at the Texas Thunder (12-8) Wednesday through Sunday before they come back home on July 13 to open a four-game series with the Thunder. The starting time of the Saturday, July 15 game has been moved to a 5:05 p.m. start because the game is being taped by ESPN 2 for broadcast on July 20 at 8 p.m.
Centerfielder Kelly Kretschman (.355) currently ranks 10th in NPF hitting, while shortstop Jessica Merchant is second in home runs with five. Wilkerson ranks sixth in RBI with 13, having produced eight in two wins over China last week. The Brakettes lost the series opener before taking the final three games. Best and Merchant are next with eight RBI each. Sarah Pauly (6-2, 1.72 ERA) ranks second in wins and strikeouts in the league.
The Dominican Republic National team features several United States collegian players in pitcher Melissa Penna of Stanford, infielders Melissa Perez and Yaritza Rodriguez of Nova University and infielders Alodia Aquino, Josefina Mercedes and outfielder Karina de los Santos of Miami Dade College.
Gates to DeLuca Field will open at 4 p.m.
Monday night is Nokona Bat Night.
First 200 fans to attend will receive a free small bat.
A GREAT FATHERS DAY
| The legendary Don Zimmer, former Boston Red Sox Manager and New York Yankees Coach, is seen with two of his favorite people, his daughter Donna Zimmer Mollica, and granddaughter Whitney Mollica last Sunday (June 18) at Frank DeLuca Hall of Fame Field. Zimmer was in Connecticut at another function and drove to Stratford to watch his granddaughter play for the Stratford Brakettes (ASA team). Whitney, a second-team All-America as a freshman at UMass, didnt disappoint as she collected three hits, including a three-run home run, and five RBI in a 10-2 win over the Connecticut Classics. She presented the home run ball to her smiling grandfather after the game. By the way, did you notice the hat that Zimmer, currently a coach with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, is wearing?
SOFTBALL STANDOUT JOAN JOYCE WILL SPEAK IN STRATFORD SCHOOLS
STRATFORD May 22- Joan Joyce, a National ASA Hall of Famer, will be in Stratford Tuesday and Wednesday, May 23rd and 24th, on a speaking tour of several Stratford public schools. The former Raybestos Brakettes pitcher will address elementary, middle school and high school students.
Mayor James Miron will help Joyce launch the tour as he introduces her at a 9:25 a.m. assembly in the Stratford High School auditorium. During her 20-year career with the Brakettes, Joyce compiled a 753-42 record with 150 no-hitters and 50 perfect games. Regarded as one of the greatest women athletes of all-time, Joyce also was a professional golfer, as well as an outstanding bowler, basketball player and volleyball player.
Joyce, the head softball coach at Florida Atlantic University, will address several issues, including the evolution of women in sports, the responsibility of professional athletes as role models for young people, and the personal pressures that accompany professional athletic success and stardom. She will also help promote the Connecticut Brakettes move into professional softball, which begins June 1 at Frank DeLuca Hall of Fame Field.
Joyce and several Connecticut Brakettes players will put on a free mini-clinic and meet and greet session Wednesday at 3 p.m. at the King Street Field behind Stratford High School. The event is open to the public and girls of all ages. One participant will be selected to be a bat girl for a Connecticut Brakettes home game during the 2006 season and there will be several giveaways.
CONNECTICUT BRAKETTES TICKETS ARE IN THE MAIL; TRYOUT CAMP POSTPONED BECAUSE OF WEATHER
STRATFORD May 19- Connecticut Brakettes season and individual ticket orders that have been received thus far will be mailed this weekend.
Season tickets are still on sale and ordering information may be obtained here
Individual ticket orders are still being accepted by contacting the Brakettes Office number (203) 378-7262 until the ticket engine is up and running sometime next week.
Also, the scheduled free agent tryout for the Connecticut Brakettes and Stratford Brakettes, the organizations amateur team, have been postponed this weekend because Frank DeLuca Hall of Fame field is unplayable.
Weve had six days of heavy rain in the past eight days and the field cant take anymore. We hope to conduct a mini tryout sometime during the coming week or weekend when the professional team members report to camp, said General Manager Bob Baird.
The Connecticut Brakettes have 14 players under contract and five collegiate draftees who are involved this weekend in NCAA tournament games. We may keep one spot open on the pro roster, while we are looking for a few players for the Stratford Brakettes, added Baird.
Information will be posted on the website once it has been finalized.
John Stratton and Dave Carpenter to receive Sterling Sportsmanship Awards May 12
Connecticut Brakettes team manager John Stratton (left) and Chairman David Carpenter will receive the Sterling Spirit sportsmanship award at the Sterling House Community Centers Celebrity Breakfast May 12. The event is being staged at Liedles, 337 Kenyon Street, Stratford, beginning at 7:30 a.m.
The Sterling Spirit Award recognizes contributions to the positive spirit of sports in the greater Bridgeport region and the state of Connecticut.
Former Spirit Award winners include Geno Auriemma, head coach of the University of Connecticut womens basketball team; Dianne Nolan, Fairfield University head womens basketball coach; Bob Dikranian, former Southern Connecticut mens soccer coach and director of intramurals; Julie Chu, silver medalist at the 2002 Winter Olympics; and Bill McDonald, Connecticut Post writer.
Stratton is in his 29th year with the Brakettes, including 12 as the manager of the amateur Stratford Brakettes. This year he will lead the Connecticut Brakettes into the professional ranks of the National Pro Fastpitch League, which begins its season June 1 at DeLuca Field.
Carpenter, a Westport resident, has been the sponsor and chairman of the Brakettes organization since 1996, when he saved the legendary franchise from folding. Under his tutelage the Brakettes have regained their national prominence and won three straight ASA National Championships from 2002-2004 and finished as runner-up last year.
For ticket information contact Sue Koperwhats at Sterling House Community Center (203) 378-2606.
CONNECTICUT BRAKETTES ANNOUNCE SUMMER CLINICS SCHEDULE
The Connecticut Brakettes professional softball team has announced its 2006 summer clinic schedule
. The National Pro Fastpitch team will conduct six clinics at Frank DeLuca Hall of Fame Field and Short Beach Recreation Complex in Stratford.
John Stratton, Connecticut Brakettes manager, is the clinic director. Recognized as one of the nations top pitching clinicians for over 30 years, Stratton is the assistant coach at Florida Atlantic University in the off-season where he works with ex-Brakettes pitcher and ASA Hall of Famer Joan Joyce.
Joining Stratton at the clinic will be the coaching staffs of both the Connecticut Brakettes and their amateur team, the Stratford Brakettes. Also, members of both Brakettes teams will be on hand to demonstrate their expertise and assist the campers to improve their skills.
The clinic schedule consists of two identical Beginning Pitching sessions (sessions #1 and #2), Advanced Pitching (session #3) and Catching (session #4), which are slated for DeLuca Field. The pitching sessions start with the fundamentals of pitching, developing a motion and progress through the different grips and spins used in the rise ball, drop and change of pace. Advanced pitching is for those who have previous varsity experience and/or have mastered the basic pitching motion and the body mechanics.
Session #5 deals with all aspects of offense and hitting, and session #6 covers defense, fielding and throwing. Numerous drills also will be used and situations will be covered. Sessions #5 and #6 will be staged at the Short Beach Recreation Complex.
With the exception of the one-day catching clinic, the others are two days each and run from 9:30 a.m. to 12 noon. All clinic participants will receive two complimentary general admission tickets to any Connecticut Brakettes home game. Registration for all clinics is $70 per session except catching, which is $35. Discounts are available for attending multiple sessions.
page for complete brochure information including a printable registration form.
If you have questions or require printed brochures, call the Brakettes Softball office at (203) 378-7262, or write to Brakettes Softball, 185 Lordship Road, Stratford, CT 06615.
ROB BAIRD MAKES HIS PITCH, AND LESLIE MALERICH ACCEPTS!
Congratulations to Leslie Malerich and Rob Baird, who officially (finally!) became engaged on New Years Day in Merrillville, Ind.
Rob, the son of Brakettes General Manager Bob Baird, and Leslie have been dating since 2001 when they first met at the Brakettes Refreshment Stand. Rob, who next summer will be the radio voice of the Connecticut Brakettes of the National Pro Fastpitch League, was running the refreshment stand when Malerich, an Indiana native and former Florida State University All-America pitcher, first played for the Brakettes.
After dating for four years, it took a three-month course at the Connecticut School of Broadcasting for Rob to finally ask the "right" question, which Leslie immediately accepted in her parents home just minutes after the stroke of midnight Saturday.
Rob taught music for three years in Bridgeport, CT, before he embarked on a new career in the broadcasting field, while Leslie substitute teaches in Stratford High School during the off-season. She will be playing with the Italian National Team for most of the 2006 season as she hopes to lead the team to a berth in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China.
Malerich compiled a 15-3 record and a 0.57 ERA in 2005 with the Brakettes. Three of her victories were over NPF members New York Juggernaut, Texas Thunder and New England Riptide.
No date has been set, although Leslie hinted at 2007 in Indiana. Rumor has it that Robs dad is planning a wedding re-enactment at DeLuca Field. Whoever said the GM wasnt a publicity hound?
|CONNECTICUT BRAKETTES BRING PRO SOFTBALL TO THE STATE
STRATFORD Jan 1- Professional softball debuts in Connecticut in 2006. The Connecticut Brakettes of Stratford are officially a member of the National Pro Fastpitch League that begins its third season of play May 31. Formerly known as the Stratford Brakettes when they dominated the ranks of the Amateur Softball Association for the past 59 years, the Brakettes have taken on a new identity in the nations only professional softball league.
"The Brakettes rich tradition and illustrious history has extended far beyond the boundaries of Stratford," said Brakettes Softball Chairman/Sponsor David Carpenter of Westport. "Our NPF territorial rights include all of Connecticut. While the Brakettes headquarters and hearts will always be in Stratford, we truly are Connecticuts professional softball team!"
The Connecticut Brakettes are one of seven teams who will compete in the NPF in 2006. They are joined by the defending champion Akron Racers, Arizona Heat, runners-up Chicago Bandits, New England Riptide, Texas Thunder and newcomer Philadelphia Force. NPF teams will play a 48-game schedule starting May 31 with the first of 12 series for each team. The schedule will include seven four-game home series and five four-game road series.
The Connecticut Brakettes will remain a fixture in Stratford, playing its home games at Frank DeLuca Hall of Fame Field. The Brakettes have called DeLuca Field home since 1988 when the team moved from Raybestos Memorial Field in the center of town to the south end ballpark.
Each NPF team will host five league members and two international teams. China, Chinese Taipei, Canada, Team Denso (Japan) and the Japanese National Team have all confirmed their intent to participate in the 2006 NPF season. "We have enlisted some of the best teams in the world to visit our stadiums next summer," said Joey Arrietta, Chairperson of the NPF Scheduling Committee. The USA Olympic Team also will make trips to some NPF venues.
The 2006 NPF schedule will be released in mid-January.
Carpenter, who has sponsored the Brakettes since 1996, also said the organization will continue to field an amateur team. "We are proud to announce that we will maintain our long tradition of softball excellence by again sponsoring an amateur team." The amateur club will remain the Stratford Brakettes. They, too, will play at DeLuca Field and compete in the 2006 ASA Womens Major Championship next August.
Veteran John Stratton is back to pilot the Connecticut Brakettes maiden season in National Pro Fastpitch. Stratton enters his 29th year with the organization with a 634-89 record (88%) in 12 years as field manager with four national championships. The field manager for the amateur club will be announced later.
General Manager Bob Baird is back for his 19th year and he will oversee both teams. Stratton and Baird will be charged with filling the pro roster to compete against the top womens softball players in the world.
One of the stipulations when the Brakettes joined the NPF was that they would retain the rights to the players on their roster. Current Brakettes players with collegiate eligibility beyond 2006 will play for the Stratford Brakettes, while the others will be considered for roster spots on the professional Connecticut Brakettes. "We expect to have several players for the Connecticut Brakettes under contract within the next two weeks. Were only waiting for the NPF attorney to sign off on the leagues new contract form," said Baird. The remainder of the roster will come from free agents and players selected in the February NPF collegiate draft.
Among the Olympians expected to visit DeLuca Field this summer are the Bandits Jennie Finch, Crystl Bustos of the Racers, Amanda Freed and Christa Williams of the Thunder, Natasha Watley of the Force, and Stacey Nuveman of the Heat.
|Connecticuts Own Stratford Brakettes Are Going Pro; Come Along for The Ride!
The Stratford Brakettes are going pro! The nations most famous and successful amateur womens major softball team joins the National Pro Fastpitch league in 2006.
While playing one-third of their 59th and final amateur season in 2005 against NPF teams, the Brakettes become the seventh member of the two-year old circuit. The NPF features the 2004 champion New York Juggernaut of Hempstead, NY; New England Riptide of Lowell, MA; Akron (OH) Racers; Texas Thunder of Houston; Arizona Heat of Tucson; and the Chicago Bandits. Several cities are vying for the eighth franchise for 2006.
"Were excited about the challenge and what it will mean for our team as well as for Stratford, which has been an outstanding home base of operations since 1947," said Brakettes President and Chairman David O. Carpenter of Westport, CT. "The Brakettes have such a great tradition and this promises to be another noteworthy chapter in the teams illustrious history. It will be fantastic for the players, softball fans and the Town of Stratford.
"Our goal is to field a quality professional softball team, but we also will continue to sponsor an amateur Brakettes team," added Carpenter, who along with his wife Dorothy have sponsored the team since 1996.
Both teams will continue to play at Stratfords Frank DeLuca Hall of Fame Field, their home site since 1988. NPF features the top players in the world, including most members of the 2004 USA Olympic Team that won the gold medal in Greece. Brakettes fans also will get to see many of the worlds top national teams at DeLuca Field as the NPF and International Softball Federation have a working scheduling agreement.
|BRAKETTES FOUNDER WILLIAM S. SIMPSON, 89, DIES
William S. Simpson, who founded the Raybestos Brakettes in 1947, passed away Friday, January 21 in Bradenton, FL. He was 89.
Simpson was the guiding force behind the birth of softballs greatest sports dynasty. In 1947 Simpson, who was the Chairman of the Raybestos Manhattan, Inc., formed the Raybetos Girls All-Stars, a factory-sponsored team. The following season the team assumed the name Brakettes, after the companys Stratford-based brake-lining division.
Even after his retirement from Raybestos Manhattan, Simpson remained involved with the ballclub, until the company dropped its sponsorship after the 1984 season with the closing of the Stratford plant.
Now entering their 60th successive season of play, the Brakettes Softball Organization is sponsoring a team in the National Pro Fastpitch league, the Connecticut Brakettes, and an amateur team, the Stratford Brakettes. The Brakettes have won 26 National A.S.A. championships and finished runner-up 11 times since 1958.
Brakettes fans and friends of Mr. Simpson may send cards or letter to his wife, Terry Simpson, at 5305 W26 Avenue CT, Bradenton, FL, 34209.