McCann Tech Punches Ticket for Western Mass Final Four
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- For Western Mass basketball teams, it’s The Cage.
For softball teams, it’s Sortino Field.
And for too long, that destination has been closed to the McCann Tech softball team.
But on Monday, the Hornets kicked the door down with a 6-4 win over Hopkins Academy to set up a date Wednesday against Mount Everett for a berth in Saturday’s sectional final.
“We've never gone to UMass before,” Hornets coach Robin Finnegan said. “We're excited. I'm more nervous than the kids.
“I've only been at the school for about 12 years, but ever since I've been here, we haven't gone to UMass. I think it says a lot for the program and where it's come from. I don't think they've won Western Mass since 1988, if I'm correct. I'm just happy for them. I don't know what to say.”
Hailey Miller went 3-for-4 at the plate, and Megan Goyette struck out eight in the circle for the third-seeded Hornets (18-4).
“It's been a lot of our goals to get there,” Goyette said of the coming trip to Amherst. “That's definitely been in our mind, but we don't let it take over and get nervous. We just play our hardest and hopefully win -- do better each inning.”
McCann had to hold off a couple of late comeback bids by the sixth-seeded Hawks (13-7).
Hopkins scored twice in the sixth to cut into a 3-0 McCann Tech lead.
Then, after the Hornets scored three insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth, Hopkins scored twice and put a runner on third with two out in the top of the seventh before Goyette recorded her eighth K to end the game.
“I try not to let it bother me because if I let it gets to me, nothing good will happen,” Goyette said of McCann’s late-game struggles, which included three errors in the last two innings. “f I lose focus because of stuff I can't control, it doesn't end too well for anyone. The errors we had were from good hits, so if they had made the play, it would have been an amazing play.”
Helping Goyette keep focus was batterymate Aubrey Tetlow, who called a sixth-inning timeout and a conference in the circle to settle her team down when she needed to.
“She's a great teammate,” Goyette said of the junior catcher. “She's always there for all of us. She's always pumping us up, keeping us motivated.
“During that little meeting, she just told us that we needed to stay calm, that that run doesn't matter right now. If they keep scoring, that's when they start to matter, just stay focused.”
Tetlow also went 2-for-3 at the plate on Monday. In the second inning, she led off with a single, stole second and came home on Sarah Fortini’s RBI single.
In the fifth, Tetlow had an RBI single in a two-run rally helped by three Hopkins errors.
Two more errors from the visitors helped McCann tack on the three insurance runs it needed in the bottom of the sixth.
Kalley Vanuni started that rally with a triple to right. Fortini and Caitlin Nichol each had a sacrifice bunt, and Miller singled in the inning.