2021-07-06-STATEFINAL-1 (copy)

Plays on the Taconic baseball team celebrates the 14-10 win against Medfield in the State Championship game at Wahconah Park in Pittsfield on Monday night.

After having to forgo a sporting staple of summer last year, baseball’s return to the Berkshires is sweeter than a box of Cracker Jack — and the Taconic High School baseball team have helped to bring it over home plate in style.

Taconic capped their perfect 19-0 season by winning Monday night’s barn-burner Division III state finals game, after which the squad piled onto the Wahconah Park pitcher’s mound to hoist their second-straight championship trophy. For the third time in four seasons, the Taconic boys proved themselves top dogs of the Bay State’s high school diamonds, a continuation of their powerhouse prowess after the coronavirus pandemic quieted the crack of the bat across the commonwealth last year. Giving up a season last year was tough for student athletes, their families, coaching staff and local baseball fans alike — making this celebratory return of America’s pastime to Berkshire ballparks all the sweeter.

When they clinched their fourth straight Western Mass. title last week, a first for any Berkshire baseball team, Taconic was also the first county squad to win a regional championship on their home turf. They had a bit of a home-field advantage Monday night as well. Historic Wahconah Park, which sadly saw no action in 2020 due to the coronavirus, was packed with thousands of local fans in the bleachers and standing five bodies deep beyond the outfield walls to cheer on the Taconic boys. After their victory, Pittsfield fire trucks escorted the players through downtown for a parade.

After coronavirus cruelly robbed our Berkshire community of any local baseball last year, it’s hard to think of a more storybook return for the sport this summer. And for those keeping score in other leagues playing ball in the Berkshires, the North Adams SteepleCats and the Pittsfield Suns each won their respective Fourth of July games over the weekend. With their victory Sunday night, the Suns climbed to first place in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League of New England.

With this triple crown of local baseball W’s over the long Independence Day weekend, it’s a great time to be a baseball fan in the Berkshires. Congratulations to the state champion Taconic High School baseball team — the players, the coaches, the families and all else who worked toward the program’s success after a strange and trying year off. You’ve earned it.