Softball: Berkshire Force U-16s confident after first two tourneys of season


NORTH ADAMS -- Coming off a 3-2-1 weekend in East Hartford, Conn., at the Summer Shootout tournament, the Berkshire Force 16-under softball team is confident that the team will continue to gel ahead of their hosting duties at the Babe Ruth Softball World Series in July.

The team placed third in the Summer Shootout, that's four spots higher than their seventh-place finish in their first tournament of the year.

"The team is gelling very well, versus the first day they came together. ... They're coming together as friends and it's one good solid group of girls," Force coach Jim Clary said.

On Wednesday, in a game against the Berkshire Blaze that was canceled after two innings due to rain, the Force showed areas where improvement is still necessary.

Two errors by Force infielders lead to two runners reaching base, both runners came around to score. The Blaze added one more run, taking a 3-2 lead before the game was called.

Infield play is about chemistry Clary said, and he's confident his team will work out the kinks.

"It was tough the first time we played a tournament because we're moving girls in and out [of the lineup], trying to find positions for them," he said. "[Now] the starters' positions are starting to take place and take effect."

Clary added, however, that left fielder Jillian Campbell's broken pinky finger will cause another slight tweak in the lineup. He said Campbell is expected to miss "a couple weeks."

Two players that look to stay hot for the force are shortstop Allie Hunt and pitcher Emily Koldys. Koldys earned two of the team's three wins over the weekend (Julia Murphy notched the other), and Hunt hit three home runs during the tournament.

Koldys said despite the shakiness of her infield, she has faith in the defense behind her.

"I know that they're going to get up to that level where I'm fully confident in them," she said.

Aside from the infield play, Hunt said the team is working to improve its hitting with runners on base.

The team's next tournament is the USSSA Summer Blast U16A Tournament in Queensbury, N.Y., this weekend.

"We're going in with a lot of confidence and we're going in to win," Clary said. "The girls have a lot of confidence, which we didn't have the first week."

To reach Akeem Glaspie:,
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