The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association tournaments are back for the spring season after a dormant 2020 campaign due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2021 Western Massachusetts softball tournament will begin on Friday with seven local schools vying for a championship. Unlike years past, the 2021 playoff bracket is decided strictly by record and each school could choose to opt in or out of the postseason.
Each division will follow the same schedule. The first round will take place on Friday. The quarterfinals are on Monday and the semi-finals are Wednesday. Western Mass. champions will be crowned next Friday, June 25.
Keep in mind, brackets aren’t official until 24 hours after posting.
The Wahconah Warriors, Berkshire County’s top seed, finished its 13-game season on a 12-game winning streak after a loss on opening night. The Warriors, behind strong pitching and aggressiveness on the base paths, earned the third seed in the Division II tournament and will host No. 14 Belchertown (4-8) at 7 p.m. on Friday. No. 1 Hampshire Regional and No. 2 Sabis each finished their seasons with undefeated records.
Berkshire County’s other contenders in the D-II tournament hit the road on Friday. No. 9 Hoosac Valley (7-6) will play No. 8 Monson at Monson Quarry Hill Community School. Game time is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. No. 10 Taconic (7-6) is traveling to Athol (9-3) at 4 p.m. No. 11 Monument Mountain (5-5) is visiting sixth-seeded Greenfield (9-2) at 6 p.m.
The first Berkshire County showdown could come in the quarterfinals as the winner of Wahconah and Belchertown will play the winner of Monument Mountain and Greenfield.
If either the Warriors or Spartans win two-straight games, they could face Taconic, which would also have to win two-straight, in the semifinals.
Meanwhile, the Hurricanes are on the other side of the bracket and would only face a Berkshire County team in the championship game.
Pittsfield, with a record of 8-4, is the only county team to play in D-I. The fourth-seeded Generals will host No. 5 East Longmeadow (9-4) in the quarterfinals on Friday. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.
The Generals fell to Minnechaug in the Western Mass. D-I championship game in 2019, after winning the title in 2018 and reaching the final in 2017. While the Generals of old did their damage on the base paths with speed, the 2021 edition of Pittsfield softball has a handful of players who swing big bats. Mia Alfonso has three home runs on the year and lefty hitter Mia Potash can drive the ball anywhere in the ballpark.
Pittsfield also features a strong one-two punch in the circle. Jordynn Bazinet has started most of the year, but freshman Mia Arpante has proven she can provide the Generals with quality innings in the circle.
The Mounties played to the county’s second-best record at 9-4 and will host No. 11 Smith Academy at 4 p.m. on Friday in the first round of the D-III tournament. No. 6 Mount Greylock is the only local D-III team to host a playoff game. No. 10 Mount Everett is headed to Smith Vocational (7-4) for a 4 p.m. start, and Lee (2-11) will travel to St. Mary’s, which finished as the third seed with a record of 9-2.
Despite three-different games in the opening round, each of Berkshire County’s three D-III teams are on the same side of the bracket. Wins for Mount Greylock and Lee would pit the Wildcats and Mounties against one another in the quarterfinals. Two wins would place Mount Everett in the semifinals, the first opportunity for the Eagles to play a county foe.
Full brackets can be found at MIAA.net.