|OT Thriller Decides Wednesday Summer Lacrosse League|
|By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires.com Sports|
09:33PM / Wednesday, August 16, 2017
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. -- The signature moment of the Berkshire County Wednesday night summer lacrosse league may have come before Wednesday’s first league semi-final.
The team from Adams-Cheshire only had eight players on hand to face Dalton for a berth in the league championship game.
The officials asked the Dalton players whether they wanted to play eight-on-eight or field 10 players against a short-handed opponent.
Without hesitation, the Dalton players replied, “eight-on-eight.”
That is what the summer league is all about: love of the sport and friendly competition.
“It's a great opportunity for them to learn and play more and play more and play more in a relaxed atmosphere,” Pittsfield coach Scott Aitken said.
“Nobody's beating you down, no one's coaching, no one's really doing anything like that. You're just going out and, hopefully, picking up from some of these older guys.”
But friendly competition can still be competitive. Highly competitive. And Wednesday’s playoffs featured some nail-biting finishes to wrap up the season.
In that back-and-forth affair between Dalton and Adams-Cheshire, the Wahconah-based team scored four minutes left in the second 15-minute half to tie the game again with eight seconds left in regulation to escape with a 6-5 final.
In the championship game, Dalton and ODB (a 12-4 winner over Pittsfield in the other semi-final) each had a lead in the final seven minutes of regulation before going to sudden-death overtime tied, 7-7.
Joe Whitaker made a big point-blank stop in the Dalton goal in the final minute of regulation, and Luca Burgess scored the game winner in OT to give his team the 8-7 victory.
ODB is the one squad comprised entirely of more seasoned players in the primarily high school league, which started play on June 28. In addition to Wahconah, Hoosac Valley and Pittsfield, this year’s league featured teams from Mount Greylock and Lee/McCann Tech.
Aitken said he was happy with the number of high schoolers who came out for the opportunity to play the sport during the summer and happier still that they got to play with and against area high school alumni.
“I think it's great for some of our current, younger players to play with some of the guys who played before on all our teams,” Aitken said. “The PIttsfield team had a bunch of alumni. It's kind of nice. The younger kids can see the next level of the game playing with these guys.
“You had A.J. Enchill out there [playing for ODB], who was two-time NCAA champion at Tufts. How can you not go out there and learn from that kid? And you have a lot of guys out there who play college ball. To me, it's fun and exciting and a great opportunity for our young guys to go out and learn.”
The 4-year-old league is one of several opportunities for players to develop their skills outside the spring high school season. Aitken noted the Berkshire Knights program through the Boys & Girls Club in Pittsfield, the Williamstown-based 1X Lacrosse program and opportunities in Greenfield and Springfield that attract players from Berkshire County.
“And I was just telling my guys that Westfield is going to do a Monday night league in the fall at an indoor place,” Aitken said. “Maybe some of my guys will hop on that and just keep playing and playing. It's only going to make the sport better around here. Greylock has had success, Hoosac had success this year, Wahconah ... The play is just getting better and better, and it's stuff like this that helps these kids learn.”