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Brakettes topple Saints to earn Illinois tournament

July 17, 2016 GMT

PEKIN, Ill. — Denise Denis supplied the offensive fireworks and Tatum Buckley recorded her third victory of the tournament as the Stratford Brakettes beat the St. Louis Saints 5-1 Sunday to capture the City of Pekin National Invitational at Mineral Springs Park. The Brakettes have won 21 straight tournament titles since 2010.

When a severe thunder and lightning storm cancelled the losers’ bracket of the tournament Sunday morning, the Brakettes and Saints met for the championship. Completing their Midwest road trip with an 8-0 record, the Brakettes improved to 37-2. They return to action Friday at DeLuca Field against the Stratford Seahawks 23U team in a 7 p.m. doublehedader.

The Brakettes broke against Ashley Koziol in the bottom of the third inning to score four runs. Hannah Cooper led with a double to center field and Jordan Whitley sacrificed her to third. Second baseman Summer Damiano slapped an RBI single over shortstop Jolie Duffner’s head for a 1-0 lead. Val Suto walked and Denise followed with a 250-foot, three-run home run to right center to make it 4-0.

Britt Lampert’s RBI single in the fifth scored Patti Sciglimpaglia, who opened the frame with a single, was sacrificed to second by Damiano and went to third on Suto’s fielder’s choice groundout to second for the Brakettes’ final run.

Buckley surrendered two first-inning hits, but escaped unscathed. She then retired 10 straight batters before giving up a single. She finished with a four-hitter and three strikeouts. The Brakettes played errorless ball for the fourth time in their last five games. Buckley’s record is now 14-1.

Duffner went 4-for-6 in their two setbacks to the Brakettes. The Saints will participate in the eighth annual Women’s Major Softball National Championship Aug. 4-7 in Stratford.