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Greylock Thunder Rolls to Babe Ruth Regional Crown
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires.com Sports
07:26PM / Sunday, July 08, 2018
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- The Greylock Thunder Sunday watched a 2-1 lead evaporate in a ragged third inning.
 
And then, the Thunder got down to business.
 
Greylock batted around and scored eight runs in the bottom of the third en route to a 12-7 win over Raynham in the championship game of the Babe Ruth Softball New England Regional at the Doyle Complex.
 
“That was huge for this team to respond,” Greylock coach Matt Witek said. “Usually, the negative comes down on them, and they lose it a little bit. They responded big offensively, came out strong and did everything we asked them to do.
 
“We gave them tasks this week, and one of the tasks was to be aggressive, communicate and give 110 percent, and they came out and did it. I’m proud of them, proud of their effort.
 
“Good things happen when you put the effort into achieving.”
 
The Thunder rolled through the four-day tournament with a 6-0 record, going 4-0 in the double-elimination phase that began on Friday.
 
It was a long weekend, Witek noted, and both teams showed a little bit of their fatigue early. A couple of Greylock miscues in the first three innings allowed Raynham to grab a 4-2 lead in the top of the third.
 
Jordyn Codding started the bottom of the frame by dropping a single into left field. 
 
Riley Bishop and Ashley Bird then followed with back-to-back doubles, Bird’s tying the game at 4-4.
 
After a pair of Raynham errors, Alyssa Mercier and Jenna Bird each worked walks to load the bases. A Madi Puppolo ground ball and a Rylnn Witek walk each drove in a run. And Ashley Bird’s second hit of the inning, a single to left, drove in a pair of runs to cap the rally with the Thunder up, 10-4.
 
In the fourth, Abby Bird led off with a walk, and Mercier’s sacrifice bunt was mishandled by Raynham, allowing her and Bird to score on the play and making it an eight-run cushion.
 
Ashley Bird made the lead stand up, striking out two and stranding 10 to pitch her team to a perfect weekend and the opportunity to play in the Babe Ruth World Series in Jensen Beach, Fla.
 
“They came to bat,” Witek said of Raynam. “Our girls were a little bit fatigued. They put the pressure on us. The girls were down a little bit, but they responded well in that third inning.
 
“This was a tough team. We played them tight in the first two games. It could have been anybody’s game. Our pitcher, Ashley Bird, was amazing again this last game. I give all the credit to the team and its effort.”
 
Two local teams were alive in the two regional tournaments at the Doyle Complex heading into Sunday’s play.
 
In the 16-and-under division, the host Berkshire Force needed a win in the losers’ bracket to get into its championship round.
 
But the New Hampshire state champions from Lamprey River edged the Force, 3-2, on Sunday morning to advance. In the 16U final, Raynham prevailed with a 5-1 win over Lamprey River to claim the title.
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