On Wednesday, the Bridgeport Bluefish announced that they fill a rare hole in the summer schedule by hosting the Stratford Brakettes, the legendary women's fastpitch softball team, on Monday, July 14, at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard. Billed as “The Battle of the Sexes,” the game will be a nine-inning contest played under fast-pitch softball rules.
The Brakettes, now in their 68th year of competition, have won 28 national Amateur Softball Association championships, the last coming in 2007. Last year, the team won the USSSA (United States Specialty Sports Association) national championship.
Some of the most legendary names in the game of fastpitch softball, including Joan Joyce, Bertha Tickey, Donna Lopiano, Dot Richardson and Rachel Fico, have played with the Brakettes—who started as the Raybestos Brakettes and have also been called the Hi-Ho Brakettes. They play their home games at Frank DeLuca Hall of Fame Field on Main Street in Stratford (formerly known as Hi-Ho Field and Avco Field), which will be the host site of the sixth annual Women's Major Softball National Championship from Aug. 7-10.
The Brakettes have produced 13 Olympians, and are currently amidst a 96-game winning streak. For the “Battle of the Sexes” game, Harbor Yard will be retro-fitted to become a fastpitch softball field. The Brakettes' outfield wall will be brought in from Stratford, and will be positioned 210 feet from home plate to all fields. The base paths will be softball's 60 feet instead of baseball's 90, and the distance between the mound and home plate will be softball's 43 feet instead of baseball's 60 feet, 6 inches. In addition, Alyson Chiaramonte, a member of the Stratford Seahawks fastpitch softball team, will pitch for the Bluefish, and softball umpires will call the game.
“What a fun, exciting and unique opportunity,” says Bluefish GM Ken Shepard. “The Bluefish are pleased to team up with the Brakettes and look forward to the first of hopefully many Battle of the Sexes games.”
While unique to local fans, this will not be the first time a professional baseball team has taken on a fastpitch softball team. The Chicago Bandits, a member of the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) softball league, have played in four of such games and currently hold a 3-1 record against the men. (Editor's Note: Hall-of-Fame pitcher Jenny Finch is a former member of the Bandits, while former Tennessee All-American Monica Abbot currently pitches for the team.) And while this may be the first time that the Brakettes will be facing a professional baseball team, it will not represent the first time that a Brakette player has faced a professional baseball hitter. Joan Joyce, the legendary pitcher, faced none other than Ted Williams, recognized by most as the best pure hitter in major league history, in a charity event in Waterbury, CT back in August of 1961.
Guess what? Joyce struck out The Splendid Splinter!
“This is a wonderful opportunity for the Stratford Brakettes,” adds Brakettes general manager Bob Baird. “It should be a fun night for the Brakettes, the Bluefish and the fans of both teams.”
First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m., with the gates opening at 6:05 p.m. All box and reserved seats will be $10 and can be purchased at the Bluefish ticket office, by calling (203) 210-BLUE, be visiting www.bridgeportbluefish.com, or by clicking HERE.