Everyone Is a Star for Wahconah in Win over Pittsfield

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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DALTON, Mass. – Friday was, in part, a night to celebrate the future of softball in Dalton.
The present is worth celebrating, as well.
On an evening when the Wahconah varsity invited the area’s youth program to join the high school players on the field at Pine Grove Park, those varsity stars of today delighted the stars of tomorrow with a 7-0 win over Pittsfield.
Avery Vale-Cruz struck out 16, and eight different Wahconah players had at least one hit as the team improved to 15-1 with two games left in the regular season.
“They’re a very good team,” Wahconah coach Dustin Belcher said of Pittsfield. “There’s not a weak spot in that lineup. So, I think we took the approach that we’ve got to win one pitch at a time. And I thought we did a good job of competing.
“I just told these guys: Youth night is always a special night for our program. There’s a lot of people here. And everybody was a star in their role tonight, whatever they were asked to do, whether it was pinch run, pinch hit, play defense, get the bunt down.
“Everybody was the star of their role today.”
Olivia Iovieno did her star turn to start Wahconah’s five-run second inning, leading off with a triple deep to center field.
After Elena Iovieno worked a one-out walk, Emma Belcher dropped a single into right field to bring home Olivia Iovieno for the only run their team would need.
Danni Barry followed with a sacrifice fly. And Vale-Cruz and Casey Wilson each singled ahead of Ella Quinto’s two-run single that made it 5-0.
Pittsfield’s Amanda Pou then quieted Wahconah’s bats, holding the hosts to two hits over the next three innings before giving up two more in the sixth.
That is when Vale-Cruz reached on a one-out walk, moved up on a ground ball and scored on Taylar Hickey’s second hit of the game. Hickey took first on the play and scored on Quinto’s second RBI single of the night.
Mia Arpante and Natalie Arnhold each had a hit for Pittsfield (10-6), which goes to Hampshire Regional on Monday.
Wahconah hosts Taconic on Saturday looking for seventh straight win after suffering its only loss of the season, a 5-1 decision to Turners Falls back on May 2.
Coach Belcher said he thinks the Turners loss, which Wahconah avenged three days later in Montague, helped his team refocus.
“Nobody likes to lose,” he said. “But at the same time, I think, once it was over, we took some time to look at that game and see what we have to be a little better at.
“We still have a way to go from where we want to be. There’s always a gap, and you’re chasing that gap and trying to close that gap. We know where we need to be at the end of the year, and today was a big step for us. … At different moments, people had to step up for us.”
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