WPCNR PRESS BOX. By John F. Bailey. August 19, 2002:The Stratford Brakettes white-washed the California Hurricanes, 4-0, Sunday evening at DeLuca Field in Stratford, to move within one more win for the 2002 ASA Women’s Major Fast Pitch Championship. The team whose “Starting Ro” (tation) of Danielle Henderson, Kaci Clark, Cat Osterman and Nikki Meyers has dominated the softball summer of 2002 with a 79-1 record can wrap it with a win at tonight’s 6:30 game in Stratford.
LONG TALL LEFTY FROM TEXAS ENFORCES THE LAW: Cat Osterman, University of Texas, pitching to Carrie Leto, lead-offer for the California Hurricanes in the Sunday evening Winner’s Bracket Finall in the ASA Championship. She went on to fan 15 Hurricanes, retiring 19 in a row before losing a perfecto in the seventh.
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On Sunday morning, Dannielle Henderson had pitched the Brakettes into the winners bracket final with an 8-1 win over the Topton VIPS from Pennsylvania.
BOOK’EM, DANO: USA Olympic 2000 Softball Gold Medalist, Dannielle Henderson firing in the sultry Sunday morning in Connecticut. She fanned 14 VIPS, and was staked to a 6-run lead by Brakette “rockets” by Germaine Fairchild and Sara Jewett.
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The win was highlighted by a Germaine Fairchild 2-run homer in the third which gave the Brakettes a 3-0 lead. Later in the same frame, a 3-run Sara Jewett jolt extended the lead to 6-0 with a second towering blast into straightaway left.
AIR GERMAINE: After belting a letter high fastball just foul, bringing a smile of relief to the Topton pitcher’s face, Germaine Fairchild was delighted when the pitcher threw her next pitch in the very same spot, and the Brakettes’ RBI leader didn’t miss this time. The thunder of aluminum on cowhide announced the bad news. Germaine is seen getting “fived” by the Brakette bench, driving in Kellie Wilkerson in front of her.
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JEWETT JOLTS: The crusher was applied by Sara Jewett who tagged a three-run dinger over the left field fence two batters later. Here she is crossing homeplate.
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BATTER 21 GOES DOWN: Cat Osterman, pitching like a “good-looking” Randy Johnson in the circle, blazes her patented riser past Hurricane Suzy Brazney for her 15th and final K in the California seventh last night. Cat had retired 19 batters in a row, before Erin Rahn, the previous hitter broke up the bid for her second perfect game since joining the Brakettes 4 weeks ago.
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Rahn broke up Osterman’s bid for the perfecto, when she slaphit a drifting Texas League pop behind third base that the Brakette shortstop’s desperate dive could not reach.
Asked after the game if anyone ever hits Osterman, Rahn said that her club UCLA had gotten to the lefty for six runs in one outing. Rahn has faced Osterman four times. “The first time, I struck out 4 times,” she said/.
Asked what makes Osterman so effective, Rahn said “She has a great curve to right handed batters that as it hits the plate, looks like it’s going to be outside, and then curves right in on the hands. She’s got a great dropball, too. She was using mostly her riseball and curve tonight. The riser was what our hitters were mostly swinging at.”
Osterman started gingerly getting Leto on a third strike, retiring Rahn on a third to second-baser covering, and Brazney on a backhand shot to third baser Michelle Gates who threw her out.
She hit her stride in the second, striking out two hitters every inning until the fifth, when she struck out the side in the fifth and sixth innings.
The 19-year-old, was described as “unbelievable” and “she’s something else” from seasoned fans behind homeplate. I can tell you the ball comes in like a jet taking off when she throws the rise, and the curve has to be declared illegal it breaks so much from left to right.
Back-to-Back Doubles by the Vets.
When the Hurricane pitcher issued a two-out pass to Alicia Smith in the third, Kelly Wilkerson rocketed a screamer into the right center gap to give The Cat all the runs she needed. Germaine Fairchild followed with another stinger missile to the base of the fence in left to plate Wilkerson, and it was 2-0.
That’s the way she stayed until the fifth. Keri McCallum doubled to left and came in to score on a single by Wilkerson, just past a diving second baser into right field, to make it 3-0. Karrie Rider’s clothesline sacrifice fly to left speared by a leaping leftfielder, scored Michelle Gates from third for the final tally in the sixth.
Hurricanes make Winners Final when Patriots field ineligible player.
The Hurricanes had actually lost to the Allentown Patriots Sunday morning, 1-0, in a terrific ballgame that observers say was the best in the tournament, filled with great plays in the outfield and infield, and tense offensive situations throughout.
However, after the game, it was reported and verified by ASA officials that an Allentown starter had played in a ASA Major Women’s A Tournament, which made her ineligible for this tournament. ASA officials, upon being informed, took the Patriot win away, and made the Hurricanes the winner by forfeit. ASA rules allow you to play in only one National Tournament.
Brakettes can wrap up the Championship Monday night.
About 1,500 fans watched the Brakettes win Sunday evening. Tonight they play the winners of the Loser’s bracket semi and finals to be played Monday morning.
At 9:00 Monday, the St. Louis Saints and the Iowa Dynasty play for the right to meet the Hurricanes in the Loser’s Bracket Final at 11:00 AM. Both games are at DeLuca Hall of Fame Field in Stamford.
The winner of that 11:00 contest meets the Brakettes at 6:30 PM, and must beat them twice to take the title.
The Brakettes are scheduled to throw Kaci Clark to attempt to claim the National Championship, with Cat Osterman waiting in the wings if a second game is necessary.