Designated Hitter: Some things to remember after watching Little League this week

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It is the middle of the summer, and it is prime baseball season.

At least, that's how it feels here in Berkshire County.

Wrapping up some sectional baseball championships, Berkshire County has seen some outstanding — but not unprecedented — levels of success. From the youngest Cal Ripken players to the oldest members of Post 68, there are enough trophies coming back to the county to fill its own trophy case.

These teams all have things in common.

They might play in different leagues with different rules. The common denominators are: Good coaching, players who love the game, and parents who are supportive.

Supportive parents are the ones who don't castigate umpires or their children's coaches. They are the parents who, if their child makes the last out in a game or a costly error, is the first one to them after the game and offering a shoulder to cry on, if needed.

Parents of of any young athlete need to remember that the scoreboard guarantees that there is always a winner. There is not, however, always a loser.

As I walked away from Chamberlain Field and the Don Gleason District I Little League championship game, I walked with Pittsfield American manager Matt Stracuzzi. He and I go back to when he assisted Paul Procopio on the St. Joseph boys basketball bench.

Stracuzzi and I agreed on one thing — that teams on the short end of the scoreboard either get beat or lose. And there are major differences.

If you lose, maybe your players didn't hustle, made mental or physical mistakes, and never played well.

Teams that get beat are defeated because their opponents got clutch, big hits, made big defensive plays or had clutch pitching.

On Saturday, Pittsfield National did that to Pittsfield American.

Getting beat in a game is far better than losing. If the other team is better, or played better that day and you did what you can, that's all you as a player or coach can do.

As the local baseball, and softball, teams continue their marches toward possible section, state or regional championships, just remember to be supportive.

Everyone, from the players, to the coaches and the officials, are trying to do the best they can. As long as everyone involved gives their best efforts, then there shouldn't be much to say.

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If you are looking for something to do early this week, you should check out one of our local youth baseball games.

Monday, the Pittsfield American 10-11 year old All-Stars will play in the Section I championship at Deming Park. On Tuesday, the Pittsfield National 11-12 year old All-Stars will open play in the Section I tournament at Clapp Park. Both games will start at 5:30 p.m.

Pittsfield National, a team I saw twice this weekend, is a pretty impressive group. In two days, I saw pitchers either go the distance or just miss out by a couple of batters (due to pitch count rules). National played good defense and got timely hitting.

The younger team from Pittsfield American is pretty skilled considering there are 10- and 11-year-olds mixed together.

Going to see them, or any other team, this week would be worth your while.

Reach sports columnist Howard Herman at 413-496-6253 or @howardherman.


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