BRIDGEPORT -- The Bridgeport Bluefish beat the Stratford Brakettes 2-1 Sunday at Harbor Yard on the last play of the "Battle of the Sexes" exhibition softball game, but there's a more interesting number than the score.
Attendance was 3,927 to see an amateur softball team (well, the most storied amateur softball team) play an independent minor-league baseball team in a baseball stadium on a makeup date, a game postponed by Monday's thunderstorm.
"There was nothing better than me standing in center field and seeing the entire crowd like that," veteran Brakettes outfielder Denise Denis said. "It was just a great atmosphere to play in."
The Brakettes scored in the fifth; the Bluefish answered in the seventh.
"Any time you get two competitive teams going at it in whatever, it's always fun," said Bluefish relief pitcher Matt Iannazzo, of Norwalk, who played the outfield Sunday night.
"You've got the whole atmosphere out here -- Brakettes fans, it seemed -- it was a lot of fun, and the girls did a great job, and the best part about it is we played hard."
About half the Bluefish lineup played in the team's 7-6 regular-season win over Somerset on Sunday afternoon, plus Hunter Jones, starter in the afternoon and extra-hitter by night.
The only two errors in the game -- a dropped fly ball in right and a dropped throw to the plate -- allowed the winning run to score with two out in the bottom of the ninth.
"I'm upset (to lose)," Brakettes manager John Stratton said. "I hate to end that way. If you're going to end it, end it with a base hit, make it legit, not with errors. That's not what we're about."
Brakettes pitchers Brandice Balschmiter -- who played in a similar game with the professional Chicago Bandits five years ago -- and Allyson Fournier combined on a five-hitter. Men's fastpitch pitcher Nick French and the Stratford Seahawks' Alyson Chiaramonte pitched for the Bluefish.
"We struggled at the bat. I don't know if it was depth perception," Stratton said. "The big guy, y'know, he crow-hopped, and by the time he got done, he was at 35 feet (after starting at 43)."
That, to Denis, was the biggest difference between a typical Brakettes game and this one.
"It literally felt like they were in our face," Denis said. "The rest of it was kind of normal."
It wasn't so normal for the Bluefish, who tried hitting balls thrown from a softball-pitcher's angle Monday.
"The speed wasn't the issue," said Iannazzo, who doubled in the third. "It turned out you can't recognize the spin -- or you can, but we couldn't -- but the ball is moving, and by the time you recognize the movement, you're already..." and he had his hands back at his hip.
But Ramon Castro tripled to right -- pitcher Shannon Smith was out there for an inning and couldn't track down the fly ball -- and scored in the seventh. In the ninth, Joe Bateman reached on a two-out infield single, and Castro's fly ball to right bounced out of Britt Lampert's glove, and then catcher Mariel Schlaefer dropped the throw to the plate as Bateman scored.
This was arranged only for one year, but both sides seemed happy with how it went. Brakettes general manager Bob Baird gave a literal thumbs-up to the thought of doing it again.
"It was definitely great. These (Bluefish) guys were great," Baird said. "You can't beat this."
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STRATFORD BRAKETTES 000 010 000--1 8 2
BRIDGEPORT BLUEFISH 000 000 101--2 5 0
Batteries: SB--Brandice Balschmiter, Allyson Fournier (6, L) and Elena Bowman, Mariel Schlaefer (6); BB--Nick French, Alyson Chiaramonte (6, W) and Billy Gonzalez