NORTHAMPTON — For the first time since 2007, a Berkshire County Division I softball team has earned a top-three seed. Say hello to your No. 2-seeded Pittsfield Generals.
The Generals went 19-1 this year, and earned the second seed in the Western Massachusetts Division I tournament. Minnechaug Regional (16-4) earned the top seed.
"It's what we expected," Pittsfield coach Greg Marchbanks said. "I like where we're sitting."
Pittsfield is one of five Berkshire County teams to earn spots in their respective softball tournaments. Pittsfield and Taconic are the Division I representatives, while Mount Everett and Hoosac Valley are your Division III teams.
Wahconah earned the lone Division II tournament berth, and is one of only six teams to earn their way into that tournament field.
The semifinals will be held next Tuesday through Thursday at Scortino Field on the UMass-Amherst campus, with the three finals scheduled for Saturday.
Any schedules reported now are tentative. Teams have 24 hours from when the seeds are approved to adjust schedules and game times.
Pittsfield had the best record among all nine teams in the Division I field and the best record against quality opponents. But the Generals had the second lowest strength of schedule, and that put Minnechaug into the top spot.
The Generals jump into the quarterfinal round against seventh-seeded Chicopee Comp (13-7), with the game scheduled for Thursday at Pittsfield.
"We have Chicopee Comp and we have to get through them," said Marchbanks. "We know what we're up against."
If Pittsfield wins, and if No. 3 Agawam beats No. 6 East Longmeadow, last year's Division I finalists would meet in the semifinals.
Taconic (10-9) is the ninth and final seed in the Division I field. The Braves will open on the road at No. 8 Northampton (12-8) on Thursday. If Taconic wins, it would face top-seeded Minnechaug Saturday afternoon.
Only top-seeded Hampshire Regional (18-2) and No. 2 Palmer (16-4) earned byes in the six-team Division II field.
"It's kind of where I thought we would be," Wahconah coach Dustin Belcher said of his No. 3 seed.
Belcher was the only Berkshire County league coach to attend the tournament meeting.
"It's going to be a great tournament with six good teams in it," he said. "We've seen them all. I think it's a very competitive tournament.
"Easthampton is a good team. They have a solid record. We'll have to spend the next few days getting prepared."
Wahconah, the 2013 Division II champion, will play sixth-seed Easthampton (12-6) in the quarterfinals. At the meeting, Belcher said the game was going to be Saturday, but Tuesday night, he reported a change. The game will now be played on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. at Pinegrove Park in Dalton. The winner gets Palmer.
Monson, Turners Falls, Mount Everett. For the second consecutive season, these are the top three teams in the Division III field, and they are in the same order as 12 months ago.
Monson (20-0) repeats as the top seed while defending champion Turners Falls (19-1) is the No. 2 seed, while Mount Everett (16-3) is the third seed.
Last year, Turners and Mount Everett met in the Division III semifinals, with Turners Falls winning 4-0. If the brackets hold true to the seeds, the same thing would happen.
Everett will host 14th-seeded Westfield Voc-Tech on a date and time to be determined. Should the Eagles win, they would play the winner of the game between sixth-seeded Greenfield and No. 11 Ware.
Hoosac Valley (11-7) earned the No. 4 seed, and the Hurricanes will take on 13th-seeded Mohawk at home on Thursday. The winner will face the winner of No. 5 Putnam and No. 12 Smith Vocational.
Division I seeds: 1. Minnechaug (16-4), 2. Pittsfield (19-1), 3. Agawam (15-5), 4. West Springfield (13-7), 5. Westfield (13-7), 6. East Longmeadow (13-6), 7. Chicopee Comp (13-7), 8. Northampton (12-8), 9. Taconic (10-10).
Division II: 1. Hampshire (18-2), 2. Palmer (16-4), 3. Wahconah (15-5), 4. Southwick (15-5), 5. Frontier (12-6), 6. Easthampton (12-6).
Division III: 1. Monson (20-0), 2. Turners Falls (19-1), 3. Mount Everett (16-3), 4, Hoosac Valley (11-7), 5. Putnam (17-3), 6. Greenfield (13-5), 7. Granby (10-10), 8. Franklin Tech (16-4), 9. Pope Francis (11-7), 10. Pioneer Valley (10-10), 11. Ware (8-10), 12. Smith Vocational (13-7), 13. Mohawk Trail (10-10), 14. Westfield Voc-Tech (9-7).
Contact Howard Herman at 413-496-6253.