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Williamstown's Carol DeMayo Saturday throws out the first pitch on Opening Day for the Williamstown Cal Ripken League.
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Northern Berkshire Independent Youth Baseball players listen to the National Anthem during Saturday evening's Opening Day festivities.
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Local umpires observe a moment of silence for their longtime colleague Rich Pothier, who died in March.

Community Thankful for Baseball, More on Opening Day

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. – Williamstown Cal Ripken President Chris Johnson Saturday framed his Opening Day remarks around four words: character, diversity, teamwork and respect.
 
He could have added a fifth: gratitude.
 
Saturday was a day for giving thanks in North County as the area’s youth baseball programs held opening day festivities.
 
The Adams-Cheshire Little League took its show on the road, holding a joint celebration with its new partners in Dalton-Hinsdale Little League with a parade and ceremony at Chamberlain Park.
 
Back north, Williamstown held its first Opening Day parade since 2019 before officially christening the season at Bud Anderson Field, and North Adams’ Northern Berkshire Independent Youth Baseball, which hosted its partners from Lanesborough and Williamstown for a night of skills competition on Friday, got down to the business of playing games on Saturday.
 
Just before North Adams Mayor Jennifer Macksey threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Fallon Field, NBIYB President Scott McAllister led a moment of silence in honor of Rich Pothier.
 
McAllister indicated that youth baseball players in North County can be thankful to have had Pothier, who, McAllister said, “lived and breathed baseball.”
 
A plaque honoring Pothier’s service to the game was installed Saturday on the concession stand at Fallon Field so generations to come can be inspired by his life of service.
 
“He never took a dime for umpiring at our games,” McAllister said. “He always gave the money back to the organization.”
 
Carol DeMayo has been giving back to the people of Williamstown and North County for decades.
 
Best known as the coordinator of the Williamstown Food Pantry, DeMayo Saturday showed off her baseball skills by throwing out the first pitch of the town’s youth baseball and softball seasons.
 
Johnson said she was the perfect choice to exemplify the theme of community on which the league wanted to focus for Opening Day.
 
“When we talk about community, all the characteristics we talked about – character, diversity, teamwork and respect – the person who is throwing out our first pitch … is an absolute pillar of our community,” Johnson said. “She really embodies all of those qualities that we just talked about.
 
“The last few years have been difficult, but Carol runs the Food Pantry in Williamstown. So families who need help with food see Carol. She’s stayed open over the last two-and-a-half years of the pandemic. She was there for those families the entire time as a front-line person.”
 
As is typical for DeMayo, she deflected the praise back onto those who help her help those in need. And she thanked everyone else who makes the Food Pantry possible, including many of the youngsters who ringed the infield eagerly awaiting the end of the ceremony and the beginning of the games.
 
“I have to ask you a question, so start thinking, and then we’re really going to cheer,” DeMayo told the players. “I want to see the hands of any children, any parents, any neighbors, any supporters who helped the Food Pantry by bringing food, donating money and donating time.
 
“Let’s see those hands. Look at that! Wow! … Thank you, thank you.”
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