Stratford Connecticut's Women's Major Fastpitch















A Message from Brakettes GM Bob Baird

Dec 14 - The 2017 softball season is still five-plus months from starting, but there's been a lot going on with the Stratford Brakettes women's softball team.

For starters, the team's email, which has been in existence since 2005, was hacked on or around November 23rd. All team contacts received erroneous emails about me having to unexpectedly travel outside the country, and that my cell phone didn't work, but “please contact me via email to send me money”.

For anyone who knows me, I don't travel outside the country anymore. When the email was sent, I was in Room #905 at St. Vincent's Hospital being treated for acute myeloid leukemia, a diagnosis that was made on October 17th. Heck, I very rarely travel outside of Connecticut, unless it's Brakettes-related.

Because I was hacked, I lost all my previous emails and contacts, which my daughter was able to recover during Thanksgiving. However, I can only see the name of the contact (prior to November 23) that sent them, and there is no content in my Inbox. Also, I can't receive any new emails on the former account,

Therefore, a new email account has been set up. All future correspondence with me and the Brakettes should be addressed to Our phone number, (203) 378-7262, and address, 185 Lordship Road, Stratford, CT 06615, remain unchanged. We ask anyone who has sent an email after November 23 to the former account, to please resend to the new

Here's a quick update on my condition… I spent 37 days in the Cancer Ward at St. Vincent's and met some of the nicest people ever. Surprisingly, many of them knew about the Brakettes and women's softball. Those are the ones I gave free tickets to for 2017. I checked out of the hospital on Thanksgiving morning, the first time in that span I had left the confines of the 9th floor. I felt like I was in the witness protection program. Despite losing my hair (they assure me it will grow back, and it probably will be curly), I actually gained a pound in the hospital, and did not experience too many ill effects from the chemo. Getting sleep was a problem, but it was nice to finally get home!

I spent 2 1/2 great weeks at home with my family, resting and recovering. As planned, I re-entered St. Vincent's Hospital on Monday, December 12th for five days of consolidation chemotherapy. I have been assured by the doctors that I should be home for Christmas.

I want to thank everyone who called me, sent me cards, well wishes, and their thoughts and prayers. It was well received and it has contributed greatly to my recovery. Unfortunately, I didn't receive any money from the spam email (just kiddin). I will definitely be back in time for the open on June 3 at DeLuca Field.

Finally, I want to extend well-wishes to Danni Kemp and her family, as she continues her courageous battle to overcome brain cancer. We will continue to have Danni in our thoughts this off-season.

Happy Holidays to all and have a great softball day!

Bob Baird
Brakettes General Manager

Danni Strong
Oct 2 - The Brakettes were well represented Sunday at the Danni Kemp Home Run Derby fundraiser held by the Kemp family and friends at Washington Field, Milford.

Reuniting with their teammate Danni, who all were excited to see, were Brakettes Amber Radomski, Denise Denis, Cassie Ruscz and Britt Lampert, with Amber (women's open winner), Denise and Cassie doing some hitting.

Former Brakette Barbara Reinalda and Brakettes' scorer Mark Dempsey assisted with the pitching, while Rob Baird and Ilan Woll webcasted the proceedings, with many interviews included. Brakettes' webmaster Harlan Gage attempted some home run swings.

Also showing support for Danni were GM Bob Baird, Manager John Stratton (photo), recently retired Brakettes' President Pat Sanders, and many other members of the Brakettes family.

Past and present Foran High School (Danni's alma mater, class of '15) softball and baseball players participated, with Casey McCone (class of '13) hitting the longest home runs of the day (wow!). Danni's close friend Fallon Bevino (class of '14) brought her Sacred Heart softball team in support, and also won the collegiate division women's trophy.

Pictures taken by Brakettes' photographer Kathy Gage can be found on Facebook and Shutterfly.

Home Run Derby to be Webcast

Sept 29 - Sunday's Home Run Derby Charity Event for Danni Kemp will be broadcast at

The Brakettes broadcast crew will cover the Home Run Derby and have interviews with family, friends and teammates of Danni, in support of her as she continues to fight so courageously.

Please come by Washington Field in Milford, CT this Sunday between 1:00 and 5:00 to show your support for Danni and her family, or tune in to watch and spread the word... Several current and former Stratford Brakettes will also be present to show their support for Danni.


Sept 6 - The Fairfield County Sports Commission announced today that Danielle Kemp, a Milford resident and member of the Stratford Brakettes, is the 2016 Chelsea Cohen Courage Award winner. The 19-year-old Foran High graduate was recently diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.

Kemp will be honored at the Commission's 12th annual Sports Night awards dinner Monday, Oct. 17 at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich at 6 p.m. The 2016 Courage Award is sponsored for the first time this year by NBC Sports Champions, the pro-social initiative of NBC Sports Group.

The Fairfield County Sports Commission created the Chelsea Cohen Courage Award in 2006. It is named after the late Chelsea Cohen, a former Norwalk High soccer star who was the Commission's first Courage Award recipient and passed away in 2006 after a courageous bout with a rare form of cancer of the nervous system. The award recognizes the person in the sports community who has shown inspirational strength in battling life-altering obstacles.

Kemp, who this spring completed her freshman season with Stony Brook University's women's softball team, was a standout catcher and shortstop at Foran and in her first year with the legendary Brakettes. She is currently undergoing treatment at Yale-New Haven Hospital for the rare cancerous tumor in the pons region of her brain. During her high school career as a three-sport athlete, Kemp overcame kidney disease, which has since gone into remission.

The Kemp family has a GoFundMe page to help defray the major expenses associated with Danielle's treatment, which may include new clinical trials.

Past Courage Award winners are:

2015-Giacomo Brancato, cancer survivor and two-sport athlete at Fairfield's Warde High
2014-Nicole Graham, cancer survivor and two-sport standout at Greenwich High
2013-Amy Dixon, blind para-triathlete from Greenwich
2012-Paul Gorham, Sacred Heart University football coach
2011- SOC (SEAL) Brian R. Bill, United States Navy, Stamford native who was killed in action in Afghanistan
2010 - Ken Green, Danbury native and pro golfer who lost his leg in a car accident
2009 - James Hilaire, Stamford resident and Univ. of New Haven soccer goalie who suffered a major head injury
2008 - Mike Myers-Keitt, Fairfield Prep and Monmouth University basketball player
2007 - John Tartaglio, Para-athlete from Milford who was a Fairfield University student
2006- Jason Maiella, baseball player at Sacred Heart who was the first recipient under Cohen's name in 2006.

John Stratton: Brakettes Bound Since 1947

by Peter Vander Veer, Stratford Star, August 21, 2016

John Stratton's depth of history with the Stratford (Raybestos) Brakettes stretches all the way back to the team's inception in 1947.    more . . . . .

Brakettes Outduel Saints in Classic WMS Final

August 8 - The Stratford Brakettes bounced back from a 1-0 loss to the St. Louis Saints in the Women's Major Softball National Championship Game on Sunday, earning their own 1-0 victory in the “IF” game to secure their seventh consecutive title at DeLuca Hall of Fame Field.

The Brakettes were sitting pretty as the only undefeated squad entering the tournament's last day, thanks to a dramatic 3-0 win over the Saints on Saturday night in the Winner's Bracket Final. The trio of games played over two days amounted to an impromptu best-of-three between the two pre-tournament favorites.

The survivors from the Loser's Bracket had to defeat the Brakettes twice on Sunday to clinch the title, and the Saints were stopped halfway to the ultimate goal.

St. Louis qualified for the Championship by virtue of a 2-1 victory over the Dutchess Debs (NY) in the Loser's Bracket Final.

The Debs proved to be the biggest surprise of the tournament, posting a 3-2 record in bracket play to finish third. The young upstarts from the Empire State upset both the Lyons Spirit (PA) and New York City Havoc in bracket play, eliminating the latter from the WMS, as well as the Connecticut Seahawks.

Sarah Finck led St. Louis to a 1-0 victory in the first matchup of the day between the Saints and the Brakettes, as she struck out three and limited Stratford to four hits. The decision marked the first time that the Saints defeated the Brakettes during WMS play, and was the first loss for Stratford in the tournament since 2009.

Brandice Balschmiter (12-1) took the tough loss, as she went the distance and struck out seven batters. She surrendered nine hits, and repeatedly worked out of jams until the top of the sixth. Until that fateful inning, Balschmiter managed to strand eight runners on the basepaths, including five in scoring position.

Kate Sullens scored the game's only run for the Saints after reaching on an infield single in the sixth. She advanced to second on a fielder's choice and went to third on a single to left by Jolie Duffner. Alexa Holland reached on a two-out infield single, which allowed Sullens to race home for the 1-0 lead, which turned out to be decisive.

Balschmiter struck out the next batter to leave the bases loaded, and fanned two more in the seventh to keep it close.

However, Finck kept the Brakettes off the scoreboard in the bottom of the seventh, despite a leadoff single from Sarah Bencivenga. She eventually reached third, but was stranded there as a comebacker to Finck closed out the Saints' win.

Brakette ace Megan Good proved to be the difference maker in the “IF” game, as the Brakettes won the rematch by the slimmest of margins. Good struck out three and walked none, while scattering five singles to earn the win. She also drove in the only run of the game in the second inning.

Bencivenga led off the second and singled down the left-field line. With one out, Good drilled a hard grounder past the outstretched reach of second baseman Jolie Duffner, which bounced past the centerfielder and into the gap. Bencivenga came home from first on the hit, and Good took second as the throw came home.

The 1-0 edge was enough for Good, who closed out the win in the seventh, despite hits from Ashley Nicolao and Finck. The runners were stranded at second and third, respectively, when Good induced a grounder to first to clinch the title.

Brakettes finished at 52-3 for the season, while Good finished the 2016 campaign with a 9-0 record. She won both the Joan Joyce Award (Most Outstanding Player) and Micki Stratton Award (Most Valuable Player) for the tournament. Val Suto won the Batting Title with a .467 clip in Bracket Play, while Denise Denis shared the Pat Dufficy Award with six other players for most home runs in bracket play (1).

The final three games of the 2016 Women's Major tournament were one-run decisions, clearly establishing this year's tourney as the most well-contested in WMS history.

Many thanks go out to all the players, coaches, field staff, volunteers, family and friends of the WMS for making this year's edition the best yet!

WMS "IF" Game (13)
5:40 PM Sunday, August 7
Video Archive
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
STL SAINTS 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 0
BRAKETTES 0 1 0 0 0 0 x 1 6 0
Batteries: Saints- Madi Norman (L) and Olivia Denslow; Brakettes- Megan Good (W, 9-0) and Hannah Cooper

WMS Championship Game (12)
3:00 PM Sunday, August 7
Video Archive
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
STL SAINTS 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 9 0
BRAKETTES 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 1
Batteries: Saints- Sarah Finck (W) and Ashley Nikolao; Brakettes- Brandice Balschmiter (L, 12-1) and Hannah Cooper

When you talk about softball dynasties,
there's only one name that comes to mind...
the BRAKETTES!     more ...

1981 Brakettes on 60 Minutes
from Stratford Brakettes on Vimeo.

Your Brakettes Family
Danni Kemp Cancer Support Group
Video Archive on
Brakettes Featured