The sprint that is the premier PVIAC Western Massachusetts baseball and softball championship reached the finish line next week.
There are five Berkshire County teams playing for the Championships, and one is guaranteed.
Reigning MIAA Division III State Champion Taconic will host Pittsfield for a Memorial Day matinee at Wahconah Park to kick off championship week. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students, and seating in the stands is limited. Spectators are welcome to bring their own chairs and doors will open at 1 p.m.
The other championship baseball game will be played at Springfield College’s Archie Allen Field on Wednesday, June 1. Top-seeded Mount Greylock will take on the No. 2 Frontier Regional. The PVIAC slice has a start time listed at 4:15 p.m.
In softball, Wahconah and Hoosac Valley both reached championship games.
The Warriors will take on the Hampshire Regional on Tuesday, May 31 at 5 p.m. at Westfield State University.
In Class D, No. 2 seed Hoosac Valley takes on top-seeded Turners Falls on May 31 at 3 p.m., also at Westfield State.
The deadline for MIAA State Tournaments is May 30. Pairings for the five divisional tournaments in each sport will be released on June 1. Softball has scheduled the preliminary round and round of 32 games for June 3-5. Baseball hasn’t announced it, but expect those dates to be similar.
“I went to Taconic and I tell those guys all the time that the two games I score are the PHS games,” Taconic coach Kevin Stannard told The Eagle after a 10-0 win over Pittsfield on April 30. “It’s a big rivalry that, for me, has been going on for a long time. I still respect it – green and gold versus purple and white.
The last time PHS beat Taconic was on June 3, 2019, when the Generals scored six runs in the top of the ninth to eliminate Taconic 9-3.
It proved to be a bump in the road to an MIAA Division III State Championship for coach Kevin Stannard’s team, beating Medway that year.
Taconic arrived at the Class B title game by securing five-set wins over No. 8 Hampshire Regional (15-0) and No. 5 Easthampton (15-1), for the legendary Hampshire County Championship .
Pittsfield beat seventh-seeded Belchertown 4-3 and then knocked out No. 3 Monument Mountain 17-1 in the semifinals.
The only close game played by either team was the PHS-Belchertown game. In that contest, the Orioles scored twice in the top of the seventh to tie the game. They were given the go-ahead at second base with one out, but PHS starter Cam Sime retired the side.
In the bottom of the seventh, Tommy Mullin walked with one out. Then, with two down, Chase Racine picked right. Belchertown right fielder Aiden Torna misplayed the ball for an error and Mullin sprinted around to score the winning run.
Pittsfield and Taconic met on April 30 and Matt Lee pitched a five-inning, one-hit shutout in the Thunder’s 10-0 win over the Generals. Lee walked three bases and struck out 12. Adam Lazits drove in four runs and Antonio Scalise homered for Taconic. All 10 runs were scored with two outs.
Mount Greylock, meanwhile, did not bring back a Western Mass trophy. since beating Hampshire Regional in 2015.
The Mounties will see a familiar foe on Wednesday, when they travel to Springfield College for a date with a Red Hawk team that has already lost to Greylock this year.
Frontier came to Williamstown on Saturday April 30 and gave the Mounties everything they could handle before losing 3-0.
“I was excited to come up here to play them and kind of see where we are,” Frontier coach Chris Williams said. I like to think we’re at the top. These guys, I know they make a great team, and hopefully we see them late in the playoffs.
The play of the day came in the first inning, when the Red Hawks had Greylock starter Jack Cangelosi on the ropes.
Tyler Dubrieul singled and was forced to second by Sam Schreiber. Kevin Baumann roped in a double down the left field line. As Schreiber turned third and headed home, right fielder Landen Jamula hit the cut-off man and shortstop Jackson Shelsy threw a perfect hit to receiver Derek Paris, who scored the runner. If the point had scored, it could have been a different game.
Instead, Cangelosi scattered eight hits and struck out 10, putting Schreiber ahead of the seventh. He was the tying point, as the Red Hawks had runners in first and second place.
Greylock reached the title match shutting out No. 8 Franklin Tech 7-0 and No. 5 Smith Vocational 5-0. Frontier knocked out No.7 Westfield Tech 13-0 and No.3 Greenfield 4-0.
In the Class A championship game, top-seeded Westfield will face No. 2 West Springfield on May 31 at Westfield State. Westfield State will host the Class D title game between No. 1 Granby and No. 2 Pioneer Valley on June 1.
All four baseball title games feature the top two seeds in their respective classes.
It’s the showdown softball aficionados have been waiting for – No. 2 Wahconah and top-seeded Hampshire Regional for the Class B championship.
Both teams had little trouble getting to Westfield State. Coach Dustin Belcher’s Warriors beat seventh-seeded Chicopee 12-0 in a run game then beat No. 3 Easthampton 9-1 on Thursday.
The Hampshire Raiders beat eight-seeded Monument 14-2 and No.5 Southwick 7-2 to get there.
“We’re going to celebrate this one tonight first and then we’re going to watch Hampshire,” Wahconah coach Dustin Belcher said after the semi-final win over Easthampton. “They’re a really good team. You go back in history, Wahconah and Hampshire played a lot of big games against each other. [Brian] McGan does a great job with them. We will be ready however.
The Warriors and Raiders have five opponents in common. The only defeats came when Turners Falls beat Wahconah and Westfield beat Hampshire. Wahconah parted ways with Turners and also beat Westfield, Greenfield, Pittsfield and Chicopee. Hampshire split from Westfield, swept PHS, beat Chicopee, Turners and Greenfield.
The Raiders have won seven of Western Massachusetts’ last nine MIAA championships. Two of those wins have come against the Warriors – 5-0 in 2019 and 4-2 in 2015.
Wahconah won its last championship in 2013, beating Belchertown 10-0.
Since losing to Turners Falls 3-1 on a rainy night on May 3, the Warriors have won 10 straight games. Pitcher Avery Vale-Cruz, a University of Rhode Island draftee, was on point in Wahconah’s winning streak. During that streak, she threw five shutouts, including the 12-0 win over Chicopee in the quarterfinals. She struck out 12, including six of the game’s last seven batters.
The last time Turners Falls lost in a Western Mass. Championship Game was in 2013. Hoosac Valley fans looking for an omen should know that the last time the Thunder lost in the Finals, they were beaten by Mount Everett 3-0, behind Alicia Bazonski’s pitch. Bazonski then pitched Division I softball at UNC-Greensboro.
Since 2014, coach Gary Mullins’ team have won seven consecutive Western Mass titles. and won state championships in 2021, 2017, 2016 and 2015.
The Thunder eliminated the No. 8 gateway 16-0, but struggled to beat the No. 4 Hopkins Academy 12-10 in the semifinals.
“We’re better than what we played tonight,” Thunder head coach Gary Mullins told the Greenfield Recorder after that game. play much longer.
The last time Hoosac and Turners met on the big stage was in 2016. It was Western Mass’ championship game. Division III, and Turners beat Hoosac 7-0.
Hoosac Valley reached the Class D final beating No. 7 Ware 5-1 and sixth seed Smith Academy 8-0.
Coach Mike Ameen’s club enjoyed an 11-game winning streak, including the quarter-final win over Ware. The Hurricanes had to face Ware twice in two days and lost Game 2 11-10.
Rylynn Witek struck out 11 in the semi-final win over Smith and helped her cause with a home run.
Turners lost their last two regular season games to Greenfield and Frontier. The Thunder parted ways with Wahconah, Taconic and Mount Greylock.
In other softball finals, top seed Westfield will face No. 2 Agawam in the Class A final on June 1 at Westfield. The Class C final will feature top-seeded Greenfield and No. 3 Franklin Tech, also at Westfield on June 1.