PITTSFIELD -- It was a long day for the Berkshire Force Under-16 softball team on Saturday, and ultimately, a successful one.
The Force needed to play three games, one right after the other, to advance -- and did so. The Force made sure they would play Sunday morning by beating the Norwalk (Conn.) Riptide 15-8 Saturday night in the New England Babe Ruth Softball Regionals at the Doyle Complex.
"It hasn't hit me yet," Force catcher Aoife Nester said when asked how tired she was after playing three consecutive games behind the plate. "I'm sure when I go home and I lay down, I'll be out like a light."
Nester and her teammates were wide awake after an early afternoon 4-3 loss to Newtown. The Force had to come back in 30 minutes and begin play in the losers bracket.
The Force beat the Lynn Lightning 12-2 in a game stopped in the bottom of the fifth inning by the mercy rule. That led right into the game against Norwalk. The Force broke open a one-run game by outscoring their opponents 11-1 over the next 41 2 innings.
"They really dug down deep," Force manager Jim Clary said. "They were very disappointed off that first loss because they feel they are the better team here in the whole tournament.
"They were down a little bit, but we had a chat after the first game and they really stepped it up in the second game and even more in the third game.
How big was that third game for the Force? The Norwalk team was 3-0 in pool play and only gave up four runs heading into Saturday's game.
The Force will now keep going in the losers bracket, facing the loser of this morning's game between Newtown and Way North of Londonderry, N.H. The Force will follow the 9 a.m. opener.
The Force got very little going offensively in the first game. That all changed in the second game as the Force pounded out 17 hits. They had 18 hits in the third game.
"In the first game, nobody got us started [offensively]," Force third baseman Miranda Voller said. "We need someone to hit the ball and then we all start hitting the ball after them."
Nester and Dominique Satrape had three hits each in the second game as the Force scored in every one of the four-plus innings.
The Force scored four runs on five hits in the top of the first inning to take the lead for keeps.
Nester had six consecutive hits in those last two games. She had three triples in the win over Lynn, two in her last two at-bats. In the third game, she hit a first-inning double and then three singles She finished 4 for 5 in the final game.
Kirsten McNeice had a big game in the finale, going 3 for 5 with five runs batted in.
"I think everyone can't wait to hop into bed," Force shortstop Allie Hunt said. "It gets tiring, but then your adrenaline gets going, so you sometimes forget about that."