Weather permitting the Berkshire County high school spring sports season begins today.
The weather, which was pretty inclement earlier in the week, has already impacted the schedules. Two baseball games were on the Thursday schedule. Those games will be played, but the sites for those games have changed.
Pittsfield and Taconic will play in the season opener for the Berkshire County League. The game was moved from Taconic to Clapp Park, the home diamond of the Generals. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m. The two teams flipped games on their schedule, so now Taconic will host the rematch on Friday, June 4.
The other game on the Thursday calendar features McCann Tech and Franklin Tech. Due to the rain of earlier in the week, McCann and Franklin Tech have flipped their schedule as well. Instead of playing the opener at Joe Wolfe Field, the teams will travel to Turners Falls. The rematch will now be on Tuesday, May 25.
Softball will begin its spring season on Friday with several games, including the city rivalry with Taconic at Pittsfield at 4 p.m. Boys lacrosse will also begin its season Friday as Springfield Central comes to North Adams to visit McCann Tech.
Girls lacrosse and track and field, based on schedules received, will begin their respective seasons on Tuesday, May 13.
The spring sport teams will play county-only schedules. Lacrosse teams, for example will play complete home-and-home series with their rivals. Baseball and softball will play home-and-home within their divisions, and play teams in the other division once.
Taconic baseball coach Kevin Stannard is now the dean of high school baseball coaches, and of all spring sport coaches. Depending on if you count the 2020 season that did not happen due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Stannard is either going into his 28th or 29th year.
One thing that the pandemic did not impact are the number of high school wins for the veteran Taconic coach. He needs six for 400.
There will be, for the first time since June, 2019, postseason tournament competition. In separate March meetings, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association’s Board of Directors voted to hold spring postseason tournaments. The first vote was to hold sectional (read Western Massachusetts, etc.) tournaments. One week later, the Board came back and voted to add a state component to the tournament structure for the spring season.
“I’m glad that the collective work of our Board of Directors, Covid-19 Task Force and Tournament Management Committee has allowed for us to not only have an upcoming spring season, but one which will provide for a sectional and statewide tournament,” MIAA Board of Directors chairman, and Marshfield superintendent Jeff Granatino said in a release at the time. “It has not been an easy task but it is one that has always the best interests of our student-athletes in mind.”
Having sectional and state championships in 2021 means there will be one final hurrah for sectional tourneys. For the 2021-22 school year, the MIAA had approved a statewide tournament structure.
The tournaments for the various sports will be opt-in events, meaning schools can determine if they want to compete. The opt-in date is June 2 and the cutoff date is June 15. The seedings, which will be determined strictly by record this year, will take place in the various sports on June 16 and 17, with games scheduled to begin on the 18th.
Every tournament game will be played at the higher-seeded team through the sectionals. All state semifinal and final contests will also be on one of the competitor’s home fields.