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Softball in Dalton, Plenty of Baseball Everywhere Else this Weekend Sports,
12:06PM / Thursday, July 22, 2021
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From one end of New England to the other and right in the middle of Berkshire County, there is a full weekend of youth sports on tap.
For travel softball teams, the place to be is Dalton, where the 14th annual Dalton CRA Invitational runs from Friday to Sunday at Pine Grove Park.
Sixteen teams in four age groups will play 26 games starting with Friday's openers in the 14-and-under division (5:15 p.m.) and the 10U (6 p.m.).
On Saturday morning, the 12U and 16U teams join the action.
The oldest age group features the biggest field with the Adams-Cheshire-Savoy Swat, Greylock Thunder and Berkshire Liberty facing teams from New York's Capital District.
Saturday's games start at 8 a.m.; the day's final games have a first-pitch of 4:45 p.m.
Sunday is finals day with championships in the 14U at 1:15 p.m., 10U at 3 p.m., 16U at 3:15 p.m. The two-team 12U bracket is set up as a best-of-three series with two games on Saturday and a third, if necessary, on Sunday at 4:45.
In North County, the focus will be on baseball as an even longer local tradition continues.
The pandemic-delayed 30th edition of the annual La Festa Baseball Exchange starts at 6 p.m. on Saturday at Joe Wolfe Field in North Adams.
Each year, a youth baseball team from Boston's North End comes west to take on a team from the Steeple City in mid July. In August, the North Adams squad will make the trip in reverse to play the Bostonians on their home turf.
Other teams already are traveling far afield this weekend.
Pittsfield Babe Ruth's 13-year-old, 14-year-old and 15-year-old All-Stars all begin play in their respective New England Regionals on Friday.
The 14s get the longest trip and the earliest wakeup call with a 9:30 a.m. start in their first pool play game at Rochester, N.H.'s Simard Field. The 15s have a slightly shorter trek to Trumbull High School in Fairfield County, Conn., where they open pool play at 1 p.m. The 13s are in the more familiar surroundings of Westfield's Bullens Field for a 1 p.m. first pitch.
The format is the same in all three age groups: three days of round robin play within their four-team pools; the second- and third-place teams play on Monday to advance to Tuesday's semi-finals and, ultimately, championship games on Wednesday, July 28.
Pittsfield also has two Little League baseball teams alive heading into the weekend.
The Pittsfield LL American Division 10-year-old All-Stars carry the Section 1 banner into the state semi-finals on Saturday morning in Andover. The winners of Saturday's two games will meet on Sunday to decide the state championship.
The 12-year-old Pittsfield Americans are set to continue their sectional tournament on Thursday in Longmeadow. The winner of Section 1 at that age group advances to the state tourney on the road to potentially representing the region in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.
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