DALTON, Mass. -- The Dalton 14-and-under travel softball team traveled a long way in a short period of time.
Morgan Marauszwski went 4-for-5 with a triple, and Kayle O'Bryan struck out eight in a complete-game effort and hit a three-run triple Thursday as Dalton defeated the Berkshire Blaze, 9-2, to win the Berkshire County Championship at Pine Grove Park.
It was a solid win to end the summer for a team that looked a little shaky when the season began.
“The first tournament we went to, we were awful,” Dalton coach Ken Pease said. “We learned so much since that tournament. We got mercy-ruled almost every game.
“We kind of regrouped, and the kids played so hard the rest of the year. From the beginning of the year to the end of the year, it was a 180-degree difference. I couldn’t be prouder.”
Dalton jumped on top early on Thursday night, scoring a run in the bottom of the first after Marauszwski hit a leadoff single, Emma Belcher bunted her over, and Olivia Wehner hit an RBI double deep to left field.
Marauszwski again ignited the offense in the third, leading off with a triple, going to third when Belcher sacrificed and reached on an error and scoring on Olivia Iovino’s one-out single to make it 2-0.
But the Blaze battled back in the top of the fourth.
Jordynn Bazinet reached on a two-out error and scored from first with some heads-up base-running when Sydney Ferris doubled down the left field line.
Dalton immediately answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame.
This time around, it was the bottom of the order setting the table.
No. 8 hitter Paxton Strout drew a walk and went to second on a wild pitch. Amber Brown then moved her over with a ground ball to the right side.
“Our leadoff hitter, Morgan Marauszwski leads the team in RBIs, leads the team in average and leads the team in hits from the leadoff spot,” Pease said. “That really says a lot about the 6-7-8-9 hitters. People are getting on base ahead of her.
“Morgan’s a great player. She was all-[Berkshire County] North for the [Wahconah] varsity.”
This time around, Marauszwski reached on an error that brought home Strout. She then moved up on another Belcher bunt and scored on a single by O’Brien (2-for-4, four RBIs).
It was 4-1 after four, but Dalton broke things open by batting around and scoring five runs in the fifth.
O’Bryan had the big blast, a bases-loaded triple to left-center.
In the seventh, the Blaze got a triple of its own, a leadoff blast by Ferris (2-for-2) to roughly the same part of the field.
She came home when Jacklyn Drozd reached on an error to score the game’s final run.
O’Bryan ended up stranding two runners in the seventh and six in the game as she got away without allowing an earned run.
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