County's Top Softball Stars Compete in All-Star Finale
PITTSFIELD, Mass. - The final action of the 2019 high school softball season pitted the top players from around Berkshire County in an All Star showdown at Doyle Softball Complex on Wednesday night. Even despite stellar pitching on both sides there was plenty of offensive fireworks to enjoy, as the North team slugged its way to a 10-5 victory over the South team.
The final outcome took a backseat for a change, as instead the focus was simply on enjoying one last bit of action for these softball stars. For the seniors that played in the game, it was not only their final high school game but also their final career game, in most cases.
“It’s a bittersweet moment, but this was a lot of fun,” said McCann senior Megan Goyette, who is one of those girls that will hang up her cleats from here. “I got to play with a couple of girls that I haven’t played with in years. It was pressure-free and a lot of fun. I’m happy with how it ended.”
Goyette was also one of two recipients of the sportsmanship award, presented by the Berkshire County Board of Softball Officials. Hoosac Valley’s Katie Braman earned the Joe Harrison Sportsmanship Award, which was presented to her by Mark Field. Braman has led as the Hurricanes’ captain, as the only captain the team has had in the last several decades.
“I’m just really glad that I worked really hard in my whole high school career, and I’m glad that people noticed how hard I worked for it. I really appreciate the recognition that I got, and I brought it home for the Hoosac Valley team today,” Braman said. “I had a blast today playing with everyone from all the different teams, and it was really nice getting to know the girls.”
Goyette earned the Don Little Sportsmanship Award, which was presented to her by her uncle, Tom Morandi. McCann Tech is not always recognized for its athletics, and with the Hornets competing in a different league than the rest of the Berkshire teams sometimes it can feel like they get forgotten about. But Wednesday’s award was a sign that people have seen what Goyette accomplished in her career at McCann, which included 479 career strikeouts.
“That was amazing. I felt so honored,” Goyette said of receiving the award. “I was at a loss for words. It makes me feel really good that people notice, and that people are watching. I do feel like we get overlooked, and hopefully this will get McCann some more recognition, because we’ve improved a lot.”
It did not take much waiting to see what Wednesday’s all stars had in store, as the North team got the fireworks started by taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning. After being named Berkshire County co-MVP earlier in the day, Pittsfield’s Natasha Shade got things going with a base hit and a stolen base. Abby Wells followed with a single to center for runners on the corners, and a passed ball allowed Shade to come home for the first run of the night and a lead that the North never surrendered.
Both teams had a county MVP batting at the top of the order on Wednesday. Hoosac Valley’s Madi Puppolo was also named Berkshire County co-MVP earlier in the day, and she also started off the game with a hit for her team. Puppolo laced a single to center, moved to second when Braman hit into a 5-3 fielder’s choice, and then stole third base to get within ninety feet of tying the game. But North starter Tess Lyon got a called third strike to strand the runner.
Four more runs in the second opened things up for the North. Madison Tobin was hit by a pitch, Caitlin Tatro ripped a single past third and Rachel Kays followed with a single to left that loaded the bases. Tess Lyon then connected for the big hit on a shot into the left field corner that drove in a pair. Morgan Marauszwski next had an RBI groundout, and Lyon later scored on a throwing error for a 5-0 lead.
The South answered back to get on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second. Madison Ullrich was hit by a pitch and then moved into scoring position thanks to a base hit from her Mount Everett teammate, Faith Angell. Both runners advanced when Logan Stansfield was erased on a fielder’s choice in front of the plate, and Kylie Joyce pushed Ullrich across with an RBI groundout.
The North kept tacking on runs to extend its lead. Hailey Lenski singled and later scored on a throwing error in the third, and Anna Dix lined a single to center, stole second and scored on an RBI from Taylar Ostrander in the fourth.
The middle of the order slugged away to cut the South’s deficit in half in the sixth. Ullrich cracked a double deep to center and scored when Angell rolled an RBI single past third, and Stansfield then drilled a stand-up, RBI triple deep to right. Two batters later, Rhianna Louw reached on an error that also allowed Stansfield to cross the plate and make it a 7-4 ball game.
The North piled on four more runs in the seventh to leave no question of the outcome. Sarah McMahon walked, moved to third base when Shade legged out an infield single and scored on a throwing error. Abby Wells walked, and a wild pitch allowed Shade to come home. Anna Dix then closed out the scoring with an RBI single to right.
The South did not go down quietly in the seventh. Marion Devoti led off with a base hit to right, but the defense responded with a 1-6-3 double play that brought the action down to the very last out. Lee’s Olivia Keiderling kept things going by connecting for her second hit of the night on a single to center, but an infield grounder was fielded cleanly to close things out and officially put an end to the 2019 softball season.