PITTSFIELD — The Pittsfield 14-year-old baseball team is headed to the Babe Ruth World Series in Westfield, starting Aug. 11.
The 14s locked up their spot in the World Series almost a month ago when the team beat Nipmuc 12-2.
And while Pittsfield hasn't played an official game in just under a month, it doesn't mean they haven't been getting better.
Instead of just practicing for a month straight before the World Series, the 14s have been scrimmaging other teams as a way of not getting rusty.
According to coach Mike Taylor, that was all part of the plan to keep the group fresh.
"We teach the kids to go hard," Taylor said. "We gave them a week to slow down and then we get them right back going again."
As part of that slow week, the kids got a chance to practice their fundamentals as they get ready for the skills challenge that takes place every year at the World Series. That is in addition to preparing for the actual World Series, of course.
Steve White, manager of the 14s, has been coaching Babe Ruth for 13 years. The current 14-year-old team has one trait he has only seen once before in his time on the Babe Ruth level.
"It is one of the closest groups I have ever had," White said. "It is just a good group, they all love each other. Every team isn't like that. They chant 15-deep, it is great."
However, these players have not been playing on the field together for long. The group came from three different little leagues before grouping up in Babe Ruth last year.
"We pick each other up when someone makes a mistake," Pittsfield's Luke Whitehouse said. "It is good because we are one family. No one is left out."
When the tournament comes, the coaches believe they have the right players to make a run at the championship.
"We teach them how to handle adversity," Taylor said. "These guys have handled it very well. To me, that is bigger than anything. This whole team, their attitudes could not get better."
Looking ahead, Pittsfield is going to play five games in five days with one goal: to survive pool play, giving themselves a chance in the tournament.
Pittsfield will play their first game against Arlington, Mass. at Westfield State at noon on Thursday. Pittsfield will play the remainder of its pool play games (Friday through Monday) at Bullens Field in Westfield at various times.
Out of the 12 teams participating in the tournament, six will survive pool play. The Babe Ruth Championship is set for Thursday, Aug. 18.