Tough Start Takes McCann Out EarlySPRINGFIELD, Mass. — After working so hard down the stretch to qualify for the Division 3 Western Mass. tournament, the McCann Tech baseball team certainly wasn't expecting to start the way it did against Sabis on Thursday.
The Hornets, seeded last out of the 18 teams in the bracket, won four out of their final six games just to qualify for the playoffs. Their reward for their late-season success was a preliminary game on the road against the 15th-seeded Bulldogs. After losing 9-7 to Sabis earlier in the month, McCann head coach Pat Ryan must have felt pretty confident with his senior ace, Mike Chappell, heading to the mound for the rematch.
That confidence didn't last long, however, as Chappell struggled right from the start. The Hornets' hurler had his first bad outing of the year, giving up six earned runs in the first inning alone as McCann's season ended with a 7-1 loss to the Bulldogs.
Chappell struggled with his control from the start, allowing two straight walks to start the game. After a groundout moved the runners into scoring position, Chappell hit the next batter to load the bases. Sabis (14-7) scored its first run on Chappell's third walk of the frame before two more hit batters made the score 3-0 and ended an outstanding year for the Hornets' No. 1 pitcher. Prior to Thursday's game, Chappell pitched McCann to four victories this season, compiling a 1.13 ERA with 103 strikeouts compared to just 31 walks.
Freshman Sean Davis relieved Chappell with one out in the first and promptly walked in another run. A two-run single by Leonard Denette finished off the Bulldogs' six-run inning, giving starter Cesar Sala plenty of run support for the rest of the game. Sala allowed one run on five hits, striking out six and walking one to earn the victory.
Alex Provost and Trevon Brown collected two hits each for Sabis, which now advances to a first-round matchup against second-seeded Pioneer. Sophomore Justin Racine led the Hornets' offense, going 2 for 3 on the day.
Davis pitched the final five and two-third innings of the game, allowing one run on six hits with four strikeouts and two walks.