Tatro’s final K of the night came on a swing with the bases loaded in top of the fifth to help preserve a 6-4 win over Pioneer Valley Christian Academy at Alcombright Field.
Tatro allowed two runs in five-plus innings of work, and Jared Blondin finished up to make McCann Tech a winner on Senior Night for the Hornets.
“This was a huge game for us,” senior Caleb Rondeau said. “This clinches home field advantage for us in the State Voc tournament. That’s a big thing for us because we don’t have to pack up on a bus and go down to Boston.
“I think a lot of people counted us out, but we dug in and showed who we are. We’re a talented team. So I’m really proud of these guys.”
The Hornets (16-4) will be home to defend the State Vocational title they won last year in a 21-3 campaign that also saw McCann go to the semi-finals of the Western Massachusetts Division 4 tournament.
They’re going back to that tourney as well, but on Thursday, they learn their first round opponent in the four-team State Voc tourney.
Wednesday night, they were at their “home away from home,” after it was determined during the day that Joe Wolfe Field was unplayable.
And Tatro was an inhospitable host to the Eagles, striking out the side in each of the first four innings.
“He’s our ace,” Rondeau said. “He’s been throwing very well since his freshman year, and he’s come along. He’s kind of leading the way for this staff. We have some young guys who haven’t seen the varsity level yet, and we have some older guys who haven’t seen the varsity level.
“But he’s really consistent. Always comes out, pounds the zone and gives us a chance every night, whether he’s striking guys out or they’re putting balls in play and we’re making plays behind him. I’m really confident when he’s on the hill.”
Rondeau helped stake Tatro a lead with an RBI double in the bottom of the first that drove in Omar Uqudah. Rondeau then moved up on a wild pitch and scored on an RBI groundout from Blondin to make it 2-0.
McCann doubled that lead in the second when Owen Gagne and Jeremy Beany reached on a walk and a hit-by-pitch, respectively. Gagne ended up advancing on a ground ball and scoring on a passed ball. Beany scored on a sacrifice bunt by Matt Jette to make it 4-0.
Rondeau singled, stole second and scored on Blondin’s RBI single in the third to make it 5-0.
But the Eagles got to Tatro in the fourth -- despite striking out three times. David Brynn drew a leadoff walk, moved up on a Luke Story double and scored on a wild pitch.
McCann Tech got that run back in the bottom of the inning. Andrew Koch hit a leadoff double and came home on Jette’s RBI single to left.
But PVCA got back within four runs in the fifth before Tatro was able to slam the door, leaving them loaded to keep it 6-2.
Tatro went back out for the sixth, but after he issued two free passes, McCann Tech coach Ken Recore did not hesitate to go to Blondin, who had been warming up in the bottom of the fifth. He gave up a sac bunt to put two in scoring position and walked one intentionally before getting a strikeout and a ground ball to Gagne at second to end the threat.
PVCA rallied again in the seventh, scoring the first two men to come to bat, but Blondin used three Ks to pitch around two hit batters and left a runner on third to end it.
Before the game, first-year coach Recore offered some words about Rondeau and his classmates: Koch, Beany and Jette.
“We’ve got a lot of young guys,” Rondeau said. “We’ve really come a long way from tryouts. We weren’t really sure where we were going to be at and who we had. But we dug in, found ourselves, and we’re finding success.”