Howard Herman | Designated Hitter: A county full of winners
Welcome to the County of Winners. If you are a Berkshire County sports fan, the first five-and-a-half months have been pretty good. And there could be quite an exclamation point produced by the middle of next month.
I hesitated to use the term County of Champions, because there are too many teams too close to winning titles that I don't want to jinx anybody.
It would be great to see Farley-Lamb Field in Williamstown full of lacrosse fans today. Williams and Amherst are playing in the NCAA Division III championships. It's a Final Four game, with the winner heading to Philadelphia next Sunday to play in the championship contest.
It would be a good opportunity for every youth and high school lacrosse player to get up for the game. College athletes can be on-field role models, and if you have children who love the sport, they'll love it even more by going.
Besides, it's time to take advantage of some decent weather while we can.
On the topic of the Williams lacrosse team, it has been brought up to me by more than one person that the longest postseason run in school history has a little spiritual guidance.
Renzie Lamb passed away in November. He was the lacrosse coach at Williams for 35 years and is in seemingly ever lacrosse Hall of Fame.
While Williams hasn't won any of its three tournament games via divine intervention, the spirit of Renzie Lamb has been all over the field that bears his name since coach George McCormack's Ephs have made this run.
"From my perspective, he inspired me," said Jeff Stripp, Mount Greylock's boys lacrosse coach and one of Lamb's former players at Williams. "He's the reason for my lacrosse, for my love of lacrosse. His footprint and his imprint is all over what we do here as an association and as a group. He meant a lot to me, and inspiration is just one of the things."
So, if Williams can beat Amherst, Lamb's spirit will be in one of the front seats of the bus that takes the team to Philly.
Berkshire County is not yet the County of Champions because our spring high school sports teams are still busily finishing up their regular-season schedules.
Of course, the one exception belongs to the Mount Greylock boys track team.
The Mounties won their second straight Western Mass. Division II meet. When it comes to running, the Mounties are the bar that everyone else is trying to get to.
Many have tried, most have not reached that level. Greylock won both Western Mass. Division II cross country meets last fall.
On Friday, the Greylock girls came up just a little bit short of a win.
If I know Greylock girls coach Brian Gill, he will have used some sandpaper to sand down the rough edges of the Mounties' performances and have them ready for the MIAA sectionals.
And we haven't even begun to discuss the ball-and-bat sports.
It certainly looks like the Taconic baseball team and Pittsfield softball teams will be either top seeds or pretty close to being top seeds in their respective divisions. Both are defending Western Mass. champions.
The Pittsfield baseball team and Wahconah softball team may not be seeded as highly as the aforementioned duo. I guarantee that nobody will want to see either team in an early-round tournament game.
County of Winners.
Two Williams golfers are national champions. Cori Chan won the women's individual title and Sam Goldenring won the men's title. The Williams women finished second.
Goldenring, who was medalist last summer at a U.S. Amateur qualifier at Taconic Golf Club, Williams' home course, missed out at a U.S. Open qualifier earlier this month at Berkshire Hills Country Club.
It was kind of a rough few hours before Goldenring went out and won his title.
"Once I get [to the golf course] I can control what I'm doing," he said during a post-match video interview. "I didn't sleep too great [Friday]. I had to take an exam [Thursday] night, so my mind was racing on a bunch of different things."
If Goldenring does as well on that final as he did on the golf course, there should be no problem.
Goldenring and Chan don't live here full-time, but they spend enough time here to claim them.
So, if some other teams can accomplish what they did, we can change County of Winners to County of Champions.
And that has a ring to it.
Howard Herman can be reached at email@example.com, at @howardherman on Twitter, or 413-496-6253.
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