Stratford, CONN - After struggling from the plate for the last few nights, the Connecticut Brakettes flashed some power in their 7-1 victory over China on Thursday night. Kellie Wilkerson smashed a grand slam to break open a 1-1 deadlock in the fifth inning in what had been a pitcher's duel. Kelly Kretchman added a two-run shot, her first, in the sixth to put it out of reach. Jessica Merchant had the other round-tripper for the home squad, a solo shot in the second inning to start the scoring. It was Merchant's fifth homer of the year, which leads the Brakettes.
China tied it up in the fourth inning with three singles off Nikki Myers, who went the distance for the win. Zhou Yi started the Chinese rally with a single to right. That broke up three perfect innings for Myers. Tan Ying followed with a beautifully placed bunt single. Li Chunxia struck out, but designated player Lu Yi ripped an RBI single to knot the score at 1-1.
Lu Wei started for China and went five innings before being lifted. She started the fifth by walking both Callie Piper and Kelly Kretchman, before giving up a single to Aimee Minor. With the bases loaded, Wei battled Wilkerson to a full count. Wilkerson waited for her pitch, and sat on the 3-2 offering which caught too much of the plate. It was her second home run on the season. Wei scattered five hits and gave up five runs. She walked four and struck out four. China dropped their second straight to the Brakettes, and now stand at 3-2 on their North American tour.
Myers lifted her record to 4-1 with the win, while striking out eight and walking just one. She gave up four hits on the night. The win improved the Brakettes' record to 9-5 in NPF play.
The two teams will hook up one more time on Friday night, at 7:05 at DeLuca HOF Field in Stratford, CT.