The Chicago Bandits (30-12), defending champion Akron Racers (29-17) and New England Riptide (24-17) will join the Connecticut Brakettes (25-14) in the four-team sweepstakes for the National Pro Fastpitch league Championship Series Saturday and Sunday at DeLuca Field.

There are three separate admissions starting with Saturday’s semifinals. Chicago and New England meet in the first game at 1 p.m. with the Brakettes and Akron vying at 7:30 p.m. Saturday with WEBCASTS starting at 12:30 p.m. est and 7:00 p.m. est. The two winners collide Sunday at 6 p.m. for the NPF crown, with the WEBCAST starting at 5:30 p.m. est.

Following a series of make-up games in Philadelphia, the Brakettes’ Kelly Kretschman clinched the batting champion title with a .410 for the season followed closely by Chicago second baseman Anne Steffan at .400. Kretschman, who has nine doubles and three home runs, leads the league in on-base percentage (.556) and in walks (35).

Brakettes shortstop Jessica Merchant has annexed the home run championship with 12. Akron Racers first baseman Oli Keohohou is next with eight, while Chicago shortstop Jaime Clark and Akron’s Kristen Butler are tied for fourth with five each. Clark, a 2004 Olympian, leads with 32 RBI, followed by Merchant with 31 and Keohohou with 28. New England’s Tarrah Beyster and Lyndsey Angus are next with 23 each.

Akron’s Radara McHugh (15-7), New England’s Jocelyn Forest (15-5) and Connecticut Brakettes ace Sarah Pauly (15-5) lead the league in victories. Chicago’s top hurlers are Amy Harre (10-2) and Gina Oaks (9-4).

Texas Thunder star Christa Williams won the strikeout award with 161 in 142.2 innings. Second in that category is Pauly with 138, while Forest was third with 107 and McHugh fourth with 101.

Pauly captured the ERA title following the Philadelphia series after being tied for the lead with McHugh. McHugh is now in second with 1.24 ERAs to Pauly’s 1.22. Forest (1.29) and Harre (1.41) are third and fourth, respectively.

Tournament passes are available at a considerable savings. All stadium box seats have been sold for the event, but there are plenty of reserved seats with back rests and bleacher seats left. Three-game passes for reserved seats with back rests, which are located directly behind the stadium box seats, are $12 for the three games. They sell individually for $8 each. A three-game bleacher pass is $9 with those seats selling for $6 per game.

The special tournament pass offer expires Friday, August 25. Fans may purchase seats by contacting the Connecticut Brakettes office (203) 378-7262.

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