Pittsfield Softball Finishes on Top in Western Mass
AMHERST, Mass. -- For Giulliana Pierce and her two senior teammates, it was worth the wait.
After losing in the sectional semi-finals two years ago and the finals last year, Pittsfield got the prize it wanted on Saturday, defeating Northampton, 11-2, in the Western Massachusetts Division 1 championship game on Sortino Field.
"It feels amazing," Pierce said. "It's like the best feeling I've had in my whole life. This is what we've all worked for all season. This is what we've worked for all four years I've been in high school. There's nothing like it being able to come off the field knowing we did our best and we won."
Pittsfield (22-0) will take the field at least one more time on Tuesday at Worcester State University against the Central Mass champions in the state Division 1 semi-finals.
But Saturday was a time to savor what the Generals already have accomplished this spring.
"I knew it was coming," Pierce said. "It was a long time coming. And we were all ready. We all knew it was time for us to get this done. I think we did a great job."
Pittsfield came out loaded for bear, scoring two in the bottom of the first and five more in the second to take a quick, 7-0 lead.
Pierce doubled in a run, and Jordyn Lummus tripled in a run and scored in the five-run second.
But after that, Northampton (19-4) pitcher Anna Kerwood settled down, allowing just one base runner over the next three innings.
After seeing his team win, 13-0, at Northampton in the regular season and take a 7-0 lead early on the Blue Devils, Pittsfield coach Greg Marchbanks was a little concerned that the Generals might get a little too comfortable.
"I was trying to keep 'em poised and tell 'em, 'You've got to win every inning. It's a 0-0 game,' " Marchbanks said. "[Northampton] came out and scored three runs in the fourth inning, and it woke my team up a little bit. They regrouped and said, 'No more.' That last inning, we came out and fired up our bats again.
"They wanted to put 'em away. They wanted this."
A Pittsfield error and a an RBI double by Anna Connly helped the Blue Devils narrow the lead to 7-2 in that fourth inning.
The Generals answered in the bottom of the sixth with four runs -- a rally that featured a two-run triple from Natasha Shade and which started with a leadoff double to left from Lummus.
"As the nine hole hitter, she's awesome," Marchbanks said of Lummus. "She turns it over for us. She puts us right in a position to get the top of our lineup up and do what we do."
Pittsfield has been doing what it does throughout the season in large part because of its seniors: Pierce (three strikeouts, one earned run), catcher Hayley Tobin (two runs, one RBI) and Britney Perkett (2-for-3 and a double-saving catch in center to start the third).
"Leadership," Marchbanks said. "Our three captains. They've been here every single year, and they wanted it. They came up with the hashtag 'finish,' and that's been their goal all year. Twenty-two and 0 -- they set the tone for everybody, and everybody bought in to what they wanted. They got used to playing that way, and they don't know any other way."
VIDEO: @phstaconicsport @phssoftball2k18 Pittsfield’s Natasha Shade drives in Jordyn Lummus in Saturday’s Western Mass finals win.
VIDEO: @phssoftball2k18 @phstaconicsport Pittsfield records final out of 11-3 WMass final win on Saturday.