DALTON, Mass. -- Overheard on Saturday morning in the Berkshire Thunder dubout at Pine Grove Park: "Oh my God, it's hot."
And it was.
Maybe not quite as hot as the weatherman had predicted, but it was sticky. And everyone had their own approach to beating the heat at the 10th annual Dalton CRA Softball Tournament.
Some brought pop-up tents. Most enjoyed time at the cooling stations set up by the CRA staff. One program -- from the Pioneer Valley -- decided to skip the event altogether. The Thunder stormed to a three-inning win to get off the field as fast as possible.
The Berkshire Force and ACS Swat 16-and-under teams? They decided to play a game that they didn't have to play and do it during the hottest part of the day.
On Saturday morning, the Force were all set to take on Western Mass in the second game of the day at 9:45 a.m.
But tournament officials finally were able to get through to someone from the Western Mass program to find out that the travel team decided not to travel due to the weather forecast.
That gave the Force -- and later the Adams-Cheshire-Savoy Swat -- forfeit wins in scheduled games against Western Mass.
But rather than call it an afternoon and wait for the start of bracket play Saturday evening, the Force and Swat decided to hook up on Saturday at 1 p.m. for an exhibition game.
"It's the last tournament of the year, and these girls are here because they want to play," Force coach Deanna Mangieri said. "We'd rather give them a chance to get on the field and get dirty and have some fun.
"It's not all about winning and losing. It's about learning how to play the game."
The Force, which beat the Swat, 7-2, in Friday's tournament opener -- which did count in the standings -- topped ACS 14-4 in Saturday's "friendly."
Saturday's first game of the five-team 16U division was the tournament opener for the Thunder, which boomed for 13 runs in the second inning en route to a 17-5 win over Halfmoon, N.Y.
Greylock 17, Halfmoon 5
Alyssa Mercier tripled, and Jayden Tower doubled in a nine-hit second inning that put the game away for the Thunder.
Greylock was helped by five Halfmoon errors in the inning, but that was just part of the story.
The big damage came from the Thunder's bats, including two-run singles by Emily Eastman and Abby Bird.
Everyone in the Greylock lineup had at least one hit as the team collected 15 base knocks with its nine outs in a game shortened to three innings by the mercy rule.
"We've hit the ball pretty well," Greylock coach Peter Tatro said. "We were a little inconsistent early on, but our bats have been coming on.
"We've played good defense, and we're pitching pretty well. So we're excited to see what this tournament will bring for us."
The Thunder later Saturday scored nine in the top of the third en route to a 13-12 win over Guilderland, N.Y.
In that win, Mercier tripled, doubled and went 3-for-3 with four RBIs. Eastman, Tower and Crash Bird each had a pair of hits. And Bird allowed just three earned runs in four innings of work in the circle to claim the win.
In the morning game against Halfmoon, Bird split time with starter Ellie Harnick.
Harnick struck out a pair but allowed five runs in two innings of work, leaving with a comfortable 14-5 margin.
Bird struck out a pair and got a stellar play on a dying line drive by center fielder Kaylee Tatro in a scoreless bottom of the third to end it.
With 2-0 records, the Force and Thunder received byes to Sunday, awaiting the winners of Saturday evening's initial games of bracket play.
Berkshire Force 14, ACS Swat 4
The Force wasted no time taking control of this one.
Jenyka Ostellino's three-run home run to right-center highlighted a five-hit, six run first inning in which the Force batted around.
And that's batting around even using an 11-player lineup -- since the game was just an exhibition.
Mia Potash, Mia Alfonso, Szofia Lewis, Laynie Burke and Ostellino each had a pair of hits in the Force' win.
Potash hit a leadoff home run to right to ignite a five-run fifth inning that put the game away. Alfonso and Burke each had a triple during that rally.
Kiki Carrigan and Syd Ferris split time in the circle for the Force, combining to strike out five.
ACS got one run in the first thanks to a couple of errors and a Kat McNeice sac fly to score Kiera Kupiec.
In the fourth, McNeice led off with a triple and scored on a pitch that got to the backstop to start a two-run inning for ACS.
With two out, Hailey McNeice worked a walk, went to second when Becca Poulton drew a free pass and scored on a base hit up the middle by Emma Glasier.
Kupiec scored the Swat's final run, leading off the fifth with a bunt single, stealing two bases and scoring on an error.
Mangieri said she was happy with the mental maturity she saw from her Force team during the travel season that comes to an end on Sunday.
"I think the biggest thing that they learned is that this game is mostly mental," she said. "We've got a lot of talent. We've got a lot of athletes. But unless they come ready to play and they show up mentally, they're not going to do as well as we should.
"Going into tomorrow, they're mentally prepping more than they are anything else. They're resting, hydrating, and I think, if anything, that's the biggest takeaway from the season: You can be the best athlete on the field, but unless you show up mentally, we're not going to get there."
Sunday's games at the 10th annual Dalton CRA Softball Tournament:
10 a.m., No. 4 Chatham, N.Y., vs. No. 1 Berkshire Force, Dalton American Legion
11:45, No. 3 Latham, N.Y., vs. No. 2 Dalton, Dalton American Legion
3 p.m., Pine Grove Park
8 a.m., Great Barrington vs. Chatham, N.Y., Dalton American Legion
8 a.m., ACS Swat vs. Bermshire Force, Chamberlain Park
9:45 a.m., Dalton vs. Adirondack, Chamberlain Park
11:30 a.m., Great Barrington or Chatham vs. Berkshire Force or ACS Swat, Chamberlain Park
1:15 p.m., Adirondack or Dalton vs. Saratoga, N.Y., Chamberlain Park
4:45 p.m, Pine Grove Park
8 a.m., Hoosick Falls, N.Y., vs. Berkshire Force, Pine Grove Park
8 a.m., Dalton vs. Halfmoon, Pine Grove Park
9:45 a.m., Chatham vs. Frozen Ropes, Pine Grove Park
9:45 a.m., Berkshire Blaze vs. Guilderland, Pine Grove Park
1:15 p.m., Berkshire Blaze or Guilderland vs. Chatham or Frozen Ropes, Pine Grove Park
1:15 p.m., Halfmoon or Dalton vs. Berkshire Force or Hoosick Falls, Pine Grove Park
4:30, Pine Grove Park
11:30 a.m., Halfmoon vs. Berkshire Force, Pine Grove Park
11:30 a.m., Guilderland vs. Greylock Thunder, Pine Grove Park
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