Berkshire Force Dropped from Main Draw, Alive in Consolation Tourney
PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- The Berkshire Force softball team did not earn the trip to Monday's Babe Ruth World Series final that it was hoping for.
But it earned a large measure of respect from its opponents.
The Force was eliminated from the tournament's double-elimination championship bracket on Sunday morning in a 7-2 loss to St. Charles Parish, La., at Gerald S. Doyle Memorial Park.
The Berkshire squad has been seeing a lot of St. Charles the last couple of years. The teams met a year ago in North Carolina. Last week, the Force defeated the Lousianans in pool play.
"I have a lot of respect for them," St. Charles coach Neil Legendre said. "We know that they're a tough team. We knew we had to come out and play a near perfect game."
No one was perfect in the 8:30 a.m. losers bracket matchup.
St. Charles committed three errors in the first few innings. Berkshire committed just one physical error but made a couple of poor decisions in the field that led to St. Charles runs later on.
The difference was St. Charles' offense, which pounded out eight hits, including two home runs and a double.
"Offensively, we did what we normally do," Legendre said. "Nobody has actually seen St. Charles Parish, La., softball this week. So we came out today as well as the last game last night (a 17-3 win), and we played what we typically play when we come up to the plate.
"That's how we hit the ball. We keep the pressure on the other teams. We score every inning. The last couple of games, you've seen St. Charles softball."
On Saturday night, the local girls showed what Berkshire Force softball is all about when they rallied for two runs in the bottom of the seventh to defeat Waretown, N.J., 7-6, and advance in the double-elimination Commissioners Cup tournament, a consolation bracket for teams that have been eliminated from the championship bracket.
Berkshire survived and advanced with two wins in the Commissioners Cup on Sunday after losing its first outing in the side tournament.
Against St. Charles in a do-or-die situation in the main draw, Berkshire started out in a 2-0 hole after giving up a couple of unearned runs in the top of the first.
It got one back in the second when Kayla Kowalczyk walked, moved up on a Emily Koldys' sacrfice bunt and scored when Kailey Bell reached on a two-base error on a ball to left field.
Starting pitcher Koldys then got the first two batters to start the third, but Morgan Foret singled to left to start a two-out rally. After the next hitter was hit by a pitch, Katie Brady pounded a ball deep to right center and chased the two runners around the bases for a three-run homer that made it 5-1.
Berkshire's Julia Murphy drew a walk, stole second and took third on an errant throw and then came home on a wild pitch to get the Force within three in the bottom of the third.
But St. Charles pitcher Mia Casanova stymied Berkshire's most serious threat of the day by ending the third with a popup behind the plate with runners at the corners.
All told, the Force stranded runners in all but two innings.
"Our bats didn't get the key hits, didn't get the runners on base that we wanted to get," Berkshire coach Jim Clary said.
Koldys was relieved by Murphy to stat the fourth, and St. Charles tacked on single runs in the fifth and seventh to put the game away and send the Force to the Commissioners Cup tourney.
"We're moving on to Plan B now, as they say," Clary said immediately after the St. Charles loss. "The initial goal is not there. We lost, we're out of it. A little mourning here for a little bit, but we've got to pick it back up. We've got another goal."
Rochester, N.H., 6, Berkshire Force 3 (10 innings)
Catherine Langdon drove in three runs to lead the Granite Staters to an extra-innings win.
Allison Hunt had three hits and an RBI, and Ashley Keegan struck out three in the circle for the Force.
Berkshire Force 8, Del Rio, Texas, 3
Murphy had two hits and three RBIs and struck out seven in a complete-game win for Berkshire, which scored four in the bottom of the sixth to break open a 4-3 game.
Berkshire Force 7, Waretown, N.J., 6
Berkshire won a back-and-forth contest in Saturday's nightcap to advance to Monday's action.
Waretown took leads of 2-0 and 4-1, but Berkshire rallied with a run in the bottom of the fourth and three more in the fifth to take a 5-4 lead. Waretown regained the lead in the top of the seventh, but Berkshire scored twice in the bottom of the frame to end the visitors' tournament run.
Murphy and Kowalczyk each drove in two runs and split the time in the circle.
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