Photo Gallery | Berkshire Force vs. St. Charles Parish, La.
PITTSFIELD -- The Berkshire Force should consider a name change to Berkshire Aggressors.
The host team of the Babe Ruth Softball 16-U World Series relied on its signature aggressive base running and Emily Koldys pitching a complete game six-hitter to defeat the power-hitting St. Charles Parish, La., squad, 8-1 at the Doyle Softball Complex on Thursday afternoon.
The Force are now 2-0 in pool play with a doubleheader scheduled for Friday against undefeated Fern Creek, Ky., at 3 p.m. and an 8 p.m. showdown with Hoquiam, Wash.
Berkshire staked Koldys to a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning as the Force strung together three soft singles to left; Ashley Keegan drove in one run, and the other scored on two St. Charles throwing errors on the same play, induced by Keegan and Hunt hustling on the basepaths.
Timely hitting and aggressive running produced two more runs each in the second and third innings, and suddenly the Force had a 6-0 lead.
"We've been known for our aggressive base running over the years," said Force coach Jim Clary. "Most of our players are on their own to take an extra base or steal."
Clary also used a designed play to plate another run in the fourth inning that combined the Force base running prowess with St. Charles' sloppy fielding.
Kacey Sondrini pinch-ran for Kailey Bell, who led off with a single. One out later Sondrini stole second. Jillian Campbell attempted a bunt for a base hit but was thrown out, Sondrini advancing to third.
Sondrini then tried to steal home, but she got caught in a rundown, drawing an errant throw from the St. Charles catcher, who threw the ball into left field, allowing Sondrini to easily score the seventh run.
Clary's strategy worked to perfection.
"I coach Kacey at St. Joe's, so I know exactly how well she runs the bases," he said.
Meanwhile, Koldys kept the St. Charles power hitters, who had close to 30 home runs in 30 games this summer entering the tournament, at bay. Her strategy was to pitch inside so they couldn't extend their arms and drive the ball. Katie Brady's wall-ball double in the second and Sydney Matherne's sixth-inning triple -- neither which led to a run -- were the hardest-hit balls by St. Charles all game.
"I tried to get high and inside with my pitches to get outs," Koldys said. "I only got in trouble when they hit my outside pitches."
Allyson Colomb's run-scoring double in the seventh ended Koldys' bid for a shutout.
Force third baseman Kayla Kowalczyk turned in the defensive gem of the game, by snatching a short pop-up off the bat off Taylor Lucich, about 15 feet from home plate.
"I did like a slide as if I was going into a base. The ball popped up [out of my glove] and I trapped it against my body, showing the umpire I caught it," she said.
St. Charles 000 000 1--1 6 6
Force 222 101 x--8 9 0
Mia Casanova and Morgan Foret. Emily Koldys and Hayley Tobin. W -- Koldys. L -- Casanova. 2B -- St. Charles 3 (Katie Brady, Casanova, Allyson Colomb). 3B -- St. Charles 1 (Sydney Matherne).
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