NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Joseph Gwozdz got a lot of offensive help on Thursday, but he did not need much.
Gwozdz struck out nine, walked two and scattered six hits to pitch the McCann Tech baseball team to a 7-2 win over Smith Vocational as the Hornets won their second straight in the Tri-County.
McCann (2-1 overall, 2-0 league) rallied for six runs in the fourth inning to make life easier for Gwozdz. He made things tough on the Vikings all afternoon.
"I wasn't really using my curve ball," the junior right-hander said. "I feel like I was just trying to locate my pitches. I feel like if I had implemented my curve ball, they might have hit it a couple of times.
"If they were hugging the plate, I would just throw it inside to kind of move them off a little bit. And then I would pitch it outside so they couldn't pull the ball as easily."
McCann coach Pat Ryan was very happy with what he saw from Gwozdz.
"I tell my pitchers — and Joe today, too — go out and throw strikes," Ryan said. "Don't worry about curve balls, don't worry about change-ups. I want straight strikes. Get ahead in the count, and you can work your magic, but until then, strike, strike, strike.
"He didn't have to go to that curve ball or change-up much."
On the other hand, Smith starter Kevin Wackerbarth fed McCann's hitters a steady diet of off-speed pitches, and it worked really well the first time through the lineup.
Wackerbarth struck out seven — including striking out the side in the third — and gave up just an unearned run heading into the fourth.
"Day 3 being outside, we hadn't seen a changeup yet this year," Ryan said. "It threw us off balance a little bit.
"You always look for fastball and adjust to curve ball. But the kid was throwing 90 percent change-ups, so we had to sit on that.
"I don't like telling kids this."
But the adjustment worked.
Sean Davis led off the fourth with a single to left and took second on an error. Charles Bohl III brought him home with a one-out single to left to give McCann a 2-1 lead.
Bohl then stole second and took third on a passed ball before coming home on Dylan Carr's single through the left side.
A couple more errors and a two-run single from Dalton Nicholas made it 6-1 before Gwozdz capped the rally with an RBI single to left.
Smith Voc managed to scratch out an unearned run in the top of the seventh, but on the whole McCann's defense was solid — especially considering how little time the team has had outside.
And Bohl was especially impressive, throwing out runners attempting to steal second in the second and third innings.
"Sophomore catcher Charlie Bohl has been working hard," Ryan said. "He's going to be there — our goal is — the next three years, and he's doing a fantastic job."
McCann travels to face Westfield Voc on Monday.