STRATFORD — Among the last three left on DeLuca Field on Thursday night were three softball players familiar with the territory, used to playing big high school tournament games there.
In a St. Joseph jersey, playing for a team of state senior high school all-stars, was Hannah Hutchison. In Brakettes red, white and blue were Nicole Williams and Lauren Pitney, her former Cadets teammates.
“It’s fun to play against them, to hit against Nicole,” said Hutchison, who led off Thursday’s game with a double to left off Williams. “I thought it was a pretty good game up to the seventh or eighth inning, and then they just kept hitting.”
The Brakettes came from behind, an unfamiliar situation, to beat the all-stars 9-5.
Pitney and Williams were in Pennsylvania with the Brakettes last weekend when Hutchison and the Cadets won the Class M championship. But Williams said they saw St. Joseph’s semifinal win over Granby.
“It was really cool. They were our freshmen when we were seniors and juniors,” said Pitney, who was the senior in 2015, the last time the Cadets reached the final. “To see how they’ve grown the program was actually really cool to see.”
“And they finally won states,” said Williams, a junior then.
“We were close every single year, literally,” said Hutchison, the freshman then and one of the senior leaders this year.
Hutchison said she’s going to Auburn, but won’t play softball. Brakettes manager John Stratton urged her to reconsider.
Pitney and Williams, both from Ansonia, are college players at Manhattan.
“We just follow each other everywhere,” Williams said.
Pitney, who had an on-base percentage of .505 and slugged .570 in her junior year, was named second-team All-MAAC and selected by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association to the All-Northeast Region team. Williams split time in the circle, going 10-10.
The Jaspers went 10-2 down the stretch to get into the MAAC tournament and finished fourth in the playoffs.
“We kind of started playing loose,” Pitney said.
“We had nothing to lose, so why not give it all we had? And we went on a streak,” Williams said.
Now it’s back to the Brakettes, who lost to the (Lancaster, Pa.) Pegasus in pool play last weekend at the Cornfield Classic in Lyons, Pa., qualified for a rematch in the tournament final but saw it rained out.
Thursday, Amity’s Brooke Matyasovsky hit a three-run home run off Ali DuBois in the top of the fifth inning to put the high school all-stars ahead 5-4. The Brakettes came back with three runs in the bottom of the inning: Denise Denis walked with the bases loaded, and Jolie Duffner’s two-run single gave them the lead for good.
The Brakettes have scheduled games against the high school all-stars for the previous 10 years; one was rained out. In the nine games that happened before Thursday, the Brakettes had outscored the seniors 99-7.
Kaysee Talcik of Shelton closed the door Thursday with three perfect innings for the Brakettes, striking out the last five batters and six in all.
“Pitching, you know, Kaysee Talcik did a nice job, but the other two, (the high schoolers) hit the ball too hard,” Stratton said. “They’re coming for some lessons, to make the ball move better, get that changeup going.”
Trumbull’s Delilha DeStefano drove in Hutchison with a first-inning RBI single. That was it for Williams’ three innings of work. Pitney, at second base, went 1-for-4 and scored a run in the second inning.
“Pitney’s probably one of the best second basemen I’ve seen,” Stratton said. “In all the years we’ve had good second basemen, she’s as good as any one of them.
“She’s a powerful hitter. She’s got to learn a bit more about hitting, but she’s a nice, nice player.”
Williams noted that the team has a few new players in the mix to go with mainstays like Denis and Brandice Balschmiter.
“Once we get working with each other, it’s going to be back to, like, normal, how we always play,” Pitney said. “It’s going to be exciting.”
BRAKETTES 9, ALL-STARS 5
CT HS ALL-STARS100 130 000—5 7 2
BRAKETTES020 230 02x—9 12 0
Records: Stratford Brakettes 7-1. Batteries: CTHSAS—Kari Marks, Sydney Senerchia (4, L), Natalie Amato (6), Ashley Veillette (8) and Shea Gendron, Erica Pullen (4), Sydney Oatway (6), Jessica Stettinger (8); SB—Nicole Williams, Ali DuBois (4, W, 2-0), Kaysee Talcik (7, S, 2) and Samantha Rodriguez, Megan Hodgdon (6). Home run: CTHSAS—Brooke Matyasovsky.