DALTON, Mass - Sunday’s performance was exactly the sort of thing that Berkshire Force 12U coach Jess Glebus hoped for, at exactly the right time. Just days ahead of a big trip to Florida to compete in the Babe Ruth World Series, the Force earned the Dalton CRA Softball Tournament title with a 10-0 win over the Saratoga Thunder, at Pine Grove Park.
Amanda Pou threw a no-hitter and every batter in the lineup reached base to contribute in the victory. Only one Thunder player reached base, and she was quickly thrown out by catcher Issabelle Macdonald and she attempted to steal second.
“We played Chatham yesterday and we didn’t play well, but we came out today and we were a totally different team and we were ready to play,” Coach Glebus said. “Our bats were alive, our defense was alive and our pitching was outstanding. I’m not complaining, but for some reason, on Sundays we come out alive. We really did play well today, and that’s when it counts.”
The Force won their Babe Ruth New England Regional earlier this summer to qualify for the World Series. The team heads down to Jensen Beach, Florida, on Thursday, and this tournament served as a nice dress rehearsal for the action ahead.
“We said that this would be a great tournament, especially for us to win, to get on a high before we head down there and play some good teams. This was the perfect thing that we could do before we go down there,” Glebus said.
Pou was certainly on the top of her game, as she faced the minimum number of hitters in her six shutout innings of work. She did not allow a hit and the lone batter she walked was quickly heading back to the dugout thanks to Macdonald. Pou struck out 14 of the 18 batters she faced.
“Just watching her, it is a thing of beauty. It really is,” Glebus said of Pou. “Nothing bothers her. She comes out here, she smiles and she works hard. Even if she was throwing the worst game of her life, you would never know. She could be throwing her best or worst and she’d still have the same attitude towards it. It is just fun to watch her out there. She just has fun and she glides right through and does an excellent job, and then she comes up to the plate and she hits. She really does it all.”
It was Pou’s RBI double to center field in the top of the second inning that got the scoring started, as she drove in Paxton Ebling, who reached with a single past first base. Mia Arpante followed with a liner to center that drove in Pou to make it a 2-0 lead.
That score held until the top of the fifth, when the Force tacked on two more runs to double their advantage. Audrina Maloney led off the frame with a base hit to center, Macdonald was next with a single to third, and then both runners advanced a base on a passed ball. JaLeah Rosa supplied an RBI on a groundout to the shortstop, and Macdonald also scored on an error.
All game long the players were all relaxed and having fun together. Some were even kind of bummed that their pitcher was throwing a no-hitter, as that kept them from some of their normal warmup banter in honor of tradition. Their chemistry and vibe together fueled the Force both on the field and at the plate.
“It’s good when they are joking around,” Glebus said. “Sometimes they get a little out of control, but they are loose on the bench and they are loose out here. They throw the ball around and they are meeting Pou at the circle giving her the ball, fighting over who is going to give her the ball before they start the inning. They all get along really well and do a great job together.”
Six runs in the top of the sixth inning put things to bed. Arpante walked, Cheyenne Goddard singled and Maloney also walked to load the bases, where Macdonald delivered by then clearing the bags with a three-RBI triple on a shot to the left-center gap. Michaela Hinckley walked for runners on the corners, and Rosa drove in another run with a fielder’s choice RBI and later scored on a passed ball. Bri Lynch followed with a base hit to center and Ebling drove the ball up the middle for an RBI triple that closed out the scoring.
Goddard led all batters by going 3-for-4, while Maloney was 2-for-3 and Ebling and Macdonald both went 2-for-4.
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