Necessity is the mother of invention.
I’m not talking about Taconic’s victory, but the invention is why Monday’s state championship baseball game was so successful.
“It will be an unforgettable memory,” Taconic wide receiver Leo Arace told me after Taconic’s victory over Medfield in the MIAA Division III title game. “The place was packed. The most people I have ever seen in Wahconah Park and it was for a high school game. That’s crazy.”
PITTSFIELD – As the Taconic baseball players exchanged post-game hugs, their…
Pittsfield is a baseball town and has always been a baseball town. I can’t imagine nearly 6,000 people coming into a stadium to watch a high school state championship game in most places here in Massachusetts.
“It was awesome,” Taconic coach Kevin Stannard said when we spoke of the big crowd. “We had heard, and social media did such a good job of getting it out. To see, even Dave [Worthley] Medfield’s head coach said ‘Wow, what a great vibe.’ We had heard that there would be quite a few people.
“My boy, have they come to support us?” “
It wasn’t the best baseball game I have ever seen. In a good season, a state championship baseball game shouldn’t end with a state championship football score. It was, however, one of the best events I have covered in years.
I’m not sure too many other people could have been crammed into Wahconah Park. There were quite a few people from Medfield in the park. It was noisy. It was exciting. It was, and this is the best part, respectful.
So if you’ve seen Stannard, Abel, McGrath, and Stotland anytime soon, thank them for this event.
In a normal season, this would not have happened.
Historically, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association has played sectional semi-finals and finals, as well as state semi-finals and finals at neutral venues. That’s why by winning three Western Mass titles, Taconic had won field section crowns at Earl Lorden Field on the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus. That’s why Taconic won two state semi-finals at Tivnan Field in Worcester and one at Westfield State University.
This is also why Taconic went 1-1 in State Championship games at Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field in Worcester and won the 2019 State Title at LeLacheur Park in Lowell.
This year was like no other. When the MIAA approved the section tournaments and ultimately the state championship, the tournament management committee, then the board of directors, both voted that the matches would be played on the top seed fields. .
So when Taconic qualified for the state championship game, that game could have been played at Taconic or Wahconah Park.
Through the cooperation of Pittsfield Public Schools Athletic Director Jim Abel, Pittsfield’s Park Open Space and Natural Resources Program Director Jim McGrath and his team, and Pittsfield Suns General Manager Sander Stotland, the game has been moved to the historic Wahconah Street Stadium.
It reminded me of when high school basketball moved to Curry Hicks Cage on the UMass campus. This too was a case of necessity being the mother of invention.
For years, the basketball semifinals of Western Mass. took place at the Springfield Civic Center, which we all now know as the MassMutual Center. It was a good place for basketball, and a number of Berkshire County teams won titles in the Western Mass.
After the Mullins Center opened on the UMass campus, it was determined that the house built by Calipari could be a more exciting location for the high school tournament than downtown Springfield, so the semifinals and Western Mass finals have been moved to 200 Commonwealth Ave.
The year escapes me, but one season the Mullins Center was booked while the Western Mass semifinals. had to be played. Tournament officials, led by the late Tom Ford, fell on the Cage. And for two decades, the Cage has been the electric home of western Massachusetts high school basketball.
With statewide tournament installments due in the fall and for upcoming sporting seasons, there will be no sectional championships.
So what will be the next necessity that will become the mother of invention? Tune in this fall.