Western Massachusetts tournaments kick into high gear this week, with semifinal and final rounds on the near horizon.
There are six baseball games, a softball game, and three tennis matches on today's calendar. Baseball and softball finals are scheduled for Saturday, while tennis finals are either Thursday or Friday and lacrosse finals are Friday.
Taconic earned a No. 2 seed and, with it, a first-round bye. So the Braves, who last won a tournament game when they won in the 2014 semifinal round, will open against seventh-seeded East Longmeadow at home today at 4 p.m.
Coming out of the No. 10 seed, the Braves lost to Cathedral in the 2014 championship game. Taconic played Cinderella all the way to Earl Lorden Field at UMass-Amherst.
Pittsfield is on the other side of bracket, and after knocking off defending champion Springfield Central, will play top-seeded Holyoke in a quarterfinal game. That game will be played at McKenzie Field in Holyoke at 4 p.m.
It is possible that if Pittsfield and Taconic both hold serve, they could face each other in a Division I championship game.
The reigning Western Mass. Division III champion Mount Greylock was beaten by Hoosac Valley in the first round. The 10th-ranked Hurricanes travel to No. 2 Southwick today. The Hurricanes won their first tournament game since beating Southwick 4-0 in the 2010 quarterfinal round.
Berkshire County is, however, guaranteed one semifinalist because fourth-seeded Wahconah will play No. 5 Monument Mountain at 4:30 today in Dalton.
In Division IV, third-seeded Lenox hosts 11th-seeded Pathfinder at 4 p.m. The Millionaires will play the Panthers after Pathfinder upset No. 6 St. Mary's 3-0.
Lenox lost to Hopkins Academy in the quarterfinals last year. If the Millionaires win, they would likely play No. 2 Hopkins in the semifinal, if Hopkins beats No. 7 Ware in today's quarterfinal.
The other D-IV game features No. 5 McCann Tech at No. 4 Commerce. The Hornets have not won a Western Mass. tournament game since reaching the semifinals in 2009.
Three of the top four seeds in the Division I tournament are still alive, and the semifinal doubleheader is Wednesday at UMass' Sortino Field.
Pittsfield, the No. 2 seed, will play No. 3 Agawam in a 3 p.m. semifinal. This is a rematch of last year's championship game, won 2-1 by the Brownies. The other game features top-seed Minnechaug and No. 5 Westfield. The Bombers downed fourth-seeded West Springfield 1-0.
There are two county teams still playing in the Division III tournament, Mount Everett and Hoosac Valley.
The third-seeded Eagles will host No. 6 Greenfield today, while the No. 4 Hurricanes will host fifth-seeded Putnam on Tuesday at Russell Field.
The Eagles are seeking their first Western Mass. title since 2013. If they, and No. 2 Turners Falls, advance out of the quarterfinals, they would meet in the semifinals once again.
Should Hoosac win on Tuesday, the Hurricanes could be set up to face top-seed Monson for the second consecutive year. Last year in the semis, the Mustangs beat the Hurricanes 2-1.
The semifinals in Division III are set for Thursday at UMass.
Mount Greylock made history in 2014, earning the No. 1 seed and winning a first-ever Central-Western Massachusetts Division III tournament.
The Mounties are the top seed again, and will host a semifinal game against fourth-seeded St. Bernard's Tuesday at 6 p.m. This is the third consecutive season that the Mounties and Bernardians have met on the grass at John T. Allen Field, and the Mounties have won both games.
The winner will face the winner of the Grafton-Nipmuc game on Friday at a site to be determined.
Berkshire County teams have won the last four Western Mass. Division III boys tournaments, and two teams still have a chance to make it five straight.
Second-seeded Mount Greylock will play a semifinal match today against No. 3 Greenfield. The Mounties beat seventh-seeded Lenox 5-0, while Greenfield edged No. 6 Turners Falls 3-2. The winner advances to the championship match on Friday.
On the other side of the bracket, fourth-seeded Monument Mountain hosts No. 5 Sabis in a quarterfinal today. The winner faces top-seeded Belchertown on Tuesday in the semifinals.
Lee and Monument Mountain remain alive in the Division III girls tournament. The seventh-seeded Wildcats beat No. 2 Frontier 3-2 in the quarterfinals. Lee will visit Mount Holyoke College on Tuesday to play third-seeded South Hadley.
On the other side of the bracket, Monument has advanced through to the semifinals. The fourth-seeded Spartans will play top-seeded Belchertown today, as the Orioles knocked off No. 8 Greenfield 5-0.