The Stratford Brakettes are expanding their program to include an elite 18U junior competitive fastpitch softball team for the 2019 season. \u201cWe are not starting this as a showcase team, which has popularized the 18-under softball ranks for nearly two decades,\u201d Brakettes General Manager Bob Baird said. \u201cRather, we are looking for talented young players who are serious about playing competitive softball who may have already committed to play at a college or who will be completing their freshman year in college and who are looking to play and are still within the age requirements. The team will be known as the Junior Brakettes and play a 25-30 game schedule. They will participate in three or four invitational tournaments, including those at the 23U and Open levels. The Junior Brakettes will complete the 2019 season by playing in the 11th annual Women\u2019s Major Softball National Championship tournament at DeLuca Field, Aug. 1-4. Mary Sciglimpaglia, who was a catcher for the 2015-16 WMS champion Brakettes, will be the team\u2019s head coach. Sciglimpaglia was a standout player at Norwalk High School and St. Joseph\u2019s College in Hartford. She will be assisted by her father Rob Sciglimpaglia, who has been involved in girl\u2019s youth softball for many years. The Junior Brakettes will conduct a tryout session on Saturday, Sept. 1, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Frank DeLuca Hall of Fame Field in Stratford. Candidates are asked to contact Mary Sciglimpaglia at 203-505-4907 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information. They may also contact Baird at email@example.com. \u201cThis will offer many talented young players the opportunity to continue playing. The majority of 18-under teams now are strictly showcase teams,\u201d said Stratford Brakettes manager John Stratton, who recently guided the team to its eighth WMS championship in 10 years. \u201cFor players who prefer not to go that route again, this will provide them with an alternative. It is not our goal to raid existing showcase teams to complete our roster, but to provide additional opportunities for players. Many players don\u2019t want to play showcase once they have made a college commitment,\u201d From 1961-74 the former Raybestos Brakettes had a farm team, the Raybestos Robins. Stratton and his wife Micki Stratton (formerly Rosemary Macchietto and the first Brakettes player inducted into the National ASA Hall of Fame), both took turns assisting ex-Brakettes standout and retired Foran High coaching legend Edna Fraser, the Robins 10-year head coach. The Robins produced 18 players who went on to play for the Brakettes, including National Hall of Fame catcher Peggy Kellers of Stratford. In addition to playing the Brakettes in a pair of doubleheaders next June and July, the Junior Brakettes will also play several preliminary games to the Stratford Brakettes.