Stratford, CONN - Kellie Wilkerson lined a two-out, seventh-inning single to left center field to score Kelly Kretschman from second base as the Connecticut Brakettes completed a four-game sweep of the Texas Thunder by a score of 7-6 Sunday at Frank DeLuca Hall of Fame Field before a crowd of 674.
Connecticut, with its fifth straight National Pro Fastpitch League win over Texas, improved to 16-7 and it stands in second place, four games behind the 20-3 Chicago Bandits. The Thunder dropped to 14-14.
After watching the Thunder tally four times in the sixth inning to tie the score at 6-6, the Brakettes reached loser Krystal Lewallen (1-4) for the game winning run in the seventh. With one out, leadoff hitter Kretschman beat out a check-swing single to deep short. Denise Denis successfully executed a sacrifice bunt to advance Kretschman into scoring position. Wilkerson went with an outside 1-2 offering and deposited the ball into left center field as Kretschman streaked home with the gamer.
Wilkersons RBI made a winner out of Sarah Pauly (9-3), who relieved Nikki Myers in the sixth inning after the Thunder closed the gap to 6-3 and they had two runners on base. Three of the runs in the sixth were charged to Myers with the tying run going against Paulys ledger.
The Brakettes led 6-2 heading into the Thunder sixth. Former Brakette Karrie Rider tripled over Denis head in right field and she scored on a fielders choice grounder to Stephanie Best at second base. Best initially looked home and when she threw to first base, Rocky Spencer had already crossed the bag. Kim Nesloneys walk sent Myers to the bench in favor of Pauly. Nina Lindenbergs sacrifice bunt advanced both runners into scoring position before Clare Burnums suicide squeeze caught the Brakettes sleeping as Spencer scored, cutting the deficit to 6-4.
Burnum stole second base as the Brakettes didnt throw through before Denise Dahlberg flied out Kretschman in shallow center. Pauly intentionally walked the dangerous Kristen Zaleski to load the sacks. Lindsay Gardner blooped a two-run single to right to tie the score. Pauly averted further scoring by fanning Danyele Gomez.
The Brakettes had singles by Callie Piper and Stephanie Hill in the sixth innings, but Lewallen retired Julie Brooks on a grounder to shortstop Lindenberg to end the threat.
The Brakettes took a 1-0 second-inning lead on Aimee Minors bases-loaded single to center. Starter Serena Settlemier worked out of the situation as Wilkersons lined to Spencer in right field. The Thunder took a 2-1 leadin the third inning on Burnums double, Zaleskis RBI triple and Gardners single.
Jessica Merchants single, a wilder pitch and Germaine Fairchilds RBI single to left field tied the score in the Brakettes third inning. Connecticut then knocked Settlemier out of the game with four runs in the sixth inning after two were out.
Kretschman reached on an error to lead off the frame before Minor struck out and Wilkerson flied out to deep center field. Merchant was hit by a pitch and Fairchild and Best followed with run-scoring singles to left. Hill, who had three hits, then delivered a clutch two-run double over Gomez head in left field to up the Brakettes lead to 6-2. Lewallen came in at that point and she retired Brooks on a 6-3 ground out.
Zaleski, Gardner and Burnam all had two hits for the Thunder, who return home to play the Akron Racers in a four-game series beginning Wednesday.
Merchant, Fairchild and Best all had two hits for the Brakettes, who travel to Tucson to play the Arizona Heat in a four-game series starting Thursday.