Brakettes rekindle backyard rivalry on Thursday

STRATFORD - When Joan Joyce played for the Raybestos Brakettes, the team had a fiercely contested backyard rivalry with the Bridgeport Coeds. Those teams met as many as 16 times during a season with the Coeds the opposition on virtually every other Wednesday at Memorial Field.

Now it appears that the Stratford Brakettes have a pretty nice rivalry of their own going against the program's 18U Junior Brakettes. The two talented teams meet in Round Two on Thursday at Frank DeLuca Hall of Fame Field in a 7 p.m. doubleheader.

Joyce arrived back in town last night for Saturday's second annual Brakettes/Joan Joyce Pitch & Putt golf tournament at Short Beach par-3 course. She will be at Thursday's softball battle and will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Joyce played 17 years for the Brakettes and compiled a 429-27 record and an all-time high of 5,677 strikeouts. Eight times chosen the MVP of the National ASA tournament, Joyce also played 19 years on the LPGA tour. She will get a chance to renew an old friendship with Brakettes’ manager John Stratton, who served as her assistant coach at FAU for 10 years.

"We always had great games with the Coeds," said Stratton. "They had a crafty lefty, Alice Coursen, who always gave us fits. She always managed to beat us at least twice a year. It was a great local rivalry, probably one of the best in softball."

The Junior Brakettes (12-4), who have won six in a row, stunned the Stratford Brakettes 3-1 opening day on June 1. Stratton's club responded with three straight wins over the Juniors and enter this clash with a 16-1 record.

Ali DuBois (3-0, 0.00 ERA), Abby Abramson (3-0, 0.58), Julia Handfield (3-0, 0.78) and Shelton’s Kaysee Talcik (6-0, 1.09) are all available to pitch for the Brakettes.

The Junior team will have Seymour's Jenna Geffert (4-1), Sydney Senerchia (3-1), New Canaan's Gillian Kane (2-2) and Bridgeport's Tiffany Diao (2-2) ready for coach Mary Sciglimpaglia's club.

Ansonia's Lauren Pitney (.553,13 RBIs), Val Suto (.512) and Jolie Duffner (.510, 18 RBIs), who plays for Joyce at FAU, lead Stratton's team in hitting.

Both teams face a busy weekend.

The Stratford Brakettes host the Maryland Chill for doubleheaders Friday and Saturday (7 p.m. starts) and Sunday at noon in a single game. The Junior Brakettes are in Windsor Friday night to face the Connecticut Eliminators 18 plus at 6 p.m. and they will play the Chill Sunday at 10 a.m.

Tickets for the Battle of the Sexes VI, between the Stratford Brakettes and New Britain Bees of the Atlantic Baseball League, are on sale at every Brakettes’ home game until the July 21 exhibition at New Britain Stadium.

Veteran softball pitcher Nick French will pitch for the Bees. Tickets for the 7 p.m. game are $10.