DALTON, Mass. -- Sunday was graduation day at Pine Grove Park.
Not the cap-and-gown and valedictory address variety. But it was a day for goodbyes for some members of the Berkshire Force travel softball program, which played its last 16-and-under tournament of the season.
And went out in style.
Mia Alfonso went 3-for-3 with a home run, a triple and four RBIs, and Kiki Carrigan struck out six while allowing just three hits and pitching the Force to a 10-1 win over the Greylock Thunder in the championship game of the 10th annual Dalton CRA Softball Tournament.
Alfonso, a rising sophomore at Pittsfield High, is one of the younger players on the team with a couple of more years at the 16U level ahead of her.
Jenyka Ostellino, a rising senior at Taconic, was one of upperclassmen who wore the program’s teal uniforms for a final time.
“It was a big deal,” she said. “I wanted to win. I wanted it so bad. And the whole team did. We all wanted it for each other, and especially the younger girls.
“We have a couple of girls who are technically supposed to be on the 14s. And we had a pep talk before, and we all wanted to win this, but [the younger players] said they wanted to win it for us.
“We just wanted to leave it all on the field.”
Ostellino, who homered for the Force in pool play on Saturday, did her biggest damage in the field in Sunday’s final, throwing out a runner stealing and popping up to snag two foul balls -- one up against the backstop.
She also reached base on an error and scored from first on Szofia Lewis’ three-run double in the bottom of the first.
That double capped a four-run rally that erased an early 1-0 deficit.
Kaylee Tatro scored the early run for the Thunder. She pounded a two-out triple to left-center and came home when Alyssa Mercier reached on an error.
But that unearned run was all Carrigan allowed.
The Thunder threatened in the top of the fourth.
Greylock pitcher Crash Bird led off with a single, and courtesy runner Bree Shurtleff moved to second when Ellie Harnick singled to left. But Ostellino threw out Shurtleff attempting to steal third for the second out, and Carrigan got a swinging third strike to end the inning.
After Mia Potash hit an RBI double and Alfonso hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the fourth, Greylock came to bat in the fifth needing to score to stay alive.
But Carrigan retired the side in order, getting a foul pop to Ostellino, a grounder to Alfonso at short and a strikeout to end the game and let the celebration begin.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Force 16s coach Jason Carrigan said. “We’ve had a lot of ups and downs with injuries, and the girls battled. We played good, we played bad, but there was something about this week. You just felt it.
“You just felt they were going to do it this weekend.”
Potash went 2-for-2 with a pair of RBIs and scored three times, and Madalyne Creamer went 1-for-2 with a sacrifice bunt, and Laynie Burke bunted her way on base and scored a run.
“We have a lot of really good hitters,” Jason Carrigan said. “Older girls like Kiki [Carrigan], Jenyka [Ostellino], Szofia Lewis. They started in 8U. There’s no more Force for them. So it was important for them that they finished this strong.”
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