SHEFFIELD, Mass. -- The baseball teams from McCann Tech and Mount Everett spent Thursday getting the feel for what it’s like to play baseball on a field instead of in the gymnasium.
The Eagles came away feeling a bit better about the experience.
Nick VandeBogart went 2-for-3 with three runs batted in, and four different Mount Everett pitchers held McCann to two hits in a 6-3 win in the season opener for both teams.
Neither team fielded as crisply as it will in a week or two as they played their first games after more than two weeks of playing hardball on the hardwood.
“Jack Carpenter probably doesn’t make that many errors the rest of the year at short,” Mount Everett coach Dan Lanoue said. “The ground’s still a little soft, too, so that could have contributed to some of it.
“Felt like a first game to me, too, as a coach.”
Lanoue took over this spring from Jesse Carpenter, who managed Mount Everett to an 11-8 record last year.
Ken Recore this spring took the reins of a McCann Tech program that last year went 21-3 with a State Vocational title and a berth in the Western Massachusetts Division 4 semi-finals.
On Thursday, he saw his Hornets give up three unearned runs to spoil a four-inning, four-strikeout performance from starter Dalton Tatro. But he also so McCann Tech fight to the end.
“It was certainly a long inning,” Recore said of a three-run Eagles fifth that broke open a 2-2 tie. “It was one of those games where we were knocking on the door, stranded a lot of runners early, inning-after-inning feeling like we were in the game.
“I was really proud of the guys that they were able to hang in there and mount that last inning rally.”
Like Lanoue, Recore knows that his team’s defense will improve.
“It’s always challenging,” he said. “This was our first time wearing cleats this year. So we talked to the guys after, and, obviously, it was not the performance we wanted defensively, especially early on. But I think you’re going to see some of those nerves subside, and we’ll be able to figure some things out.
“We’ve got a lot of fresh faces and a lot of guys playing positions that are new … or guys playing with each other who haven’t before.”
Mount Everett struck first when Nikos Casivant drew a leadoff walk, stole second, advanced on a wild pitch and came home on a VandeBogart ground ball to the left side.
Casivant went on to score three of Mount Everett’s runs.
“You can’t teach speed,” Lanoue said. “He gets on that last inning, the sixth inning, where Jack [Carpenter] hits it to the second baseman, and [Casivant] goes first to third. He’s a smart baserunner, and that set the table for us.”
In the second inning, Alek Zdziarski led off by dropping a ball into the outfield that was misplayed into a double. He advanced on a wild pitch and scored on Anthony Lupiani’s single to left to make it 2-0.
The Hornets came back to tie it in the fourth when an error opened the door to a two-run rally that featured a two-out, two-run single by Andrew Levesque.
But in the fifth, a pair of errors and a pair of singles -- by VandeBogart and Patrick Silk -- led to three Eagles runs, and they never looked back.
Jared Blondin came on in relief of Tatro in the fifth and threw two innings for the Hornets.
Mount Everett used four pitchers, starting with Lupiani, who went three. Zdziarski earned the save with two innings of one-run relief.
“We threw a lot in the first two weeks inside, but with the cold weather, I knew we’d probably have to get it done with a couple of guys,” Lanoue said. “Jack [Carpenter] came in at the end and closed it out. Anthony [Lupiani] started out great but kind of got a little sore-armed toward the end of the third.”
Mount Everett hosts Monument Mountain on Tuesday.
McCann Tech is scheduled to go to Smith Vocational on Friday.