Stratford, CONN - Brakette slugger Germaine Fairchild got the best of Christa Williams and the Texas Thunder for the second time in a week, Thursday night at DeLuca HOF Field in Stratford. Fairchilds first inning RBI single was all the offense that Sarah Pauly needed, as Connecticut was able to give Williams her second loss of the season, both at the hands of the Brakettes.
Fairchild provided the only run in last weeks series opener in Texas, a fifth inning solo shot off Williams, which broke up a Williams no-hit bid. Thursday nights run was not as flashy, but it did the job. With one out in the first inning, rookie Aimee Minor worked a walk off the Texas starter, who leads the league in wins and strikeouts. Minor advanced to second on a two-out walk by Jessica Merchant. Fairchild then stepped to the plate with designs on another clutch at-bat. Once again, she did not disappoint, as she fisted an inside pitch in left field to score Minor from second base. The Brakettes stranded runners at first and third, but the lone run was the only one that mattered.
It was another pitchers duel between the two teams, who had their third 1-0 game in five contests this year. Texas won last Thursdays game 1-0 to go with Williams two heartbreakers. The Thunder have had only four hits in Williams two starts against the Brakettes, and have yet to score a run. Williams struck out 10 batters, but walked six as well. She allowed three hits and one earned run. Her record is now 8-2.
Sarah Pauly was dominant in gaining her seventh victory. She struck out eight while walking none, and gave up just two singles to Kristen Zaleski, last years league MVP. Pauly reflected on the clutch hit by Fairchild, Any time you can get a big hit from a teammate, it just makes you more focused on the mound to do your job. With the 1-0 lead, I went after hitters, and really just tried to spot the ball in the glove. Callie Piper called a great game, and I stayed focused. Pauly improved to 7-3 on the season, and the Brakettes moved to 13-7 with the victory. They now stand in second place in National Pro Fastpitch standings. Texas dropped into a fourth-place tie with Akron, with a 14-11 record.
The Brakettes honored field supervisor Al Roy before the game, as he has served the team loyally for 35 years. Roy has greeted fans at the gate since 1972, when they were known as the Raybestos Brakettes, and played across town at Raybestos Memorial Field. Roy was presented a plaque at home plate before the first pitch, and was blind-sided by the show of gratitude from the team and fans. He received a loud ovation as he accepted with a smile.
The Brakettes and Thunder will battle three more times this weekend, with Friday nights game at 7:05. Saturday and Sunday have 5:05 game times, with Saturdays contest being taped for broadcast on ESPN2 on Thursday, June 20th at 8:00 EST. Tickets are still available for all three games.