McCann Tech Edges Lenox in Class C Quarter-Finals

By Stephen Sports
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. – Nick Gilman threw 4 and two-thirds innings of shutout relief, and Brodie Hayden drove in the winning run in the bottom of the fourth as the McCann Tech baseball team beat Lenox, 2-1, in the Western Massachusetts Class C Quarter-Finals.
Gilman struck out four and walked one for the second-seeded Hornets (12-5), who won their third straight and advanced to the regional semi-finals, where they will host either Athol or Greenfield, who saw their Tuesday game rained out and rescheduled for Wednesday.
Gilman moved from first base to the mound with one out and runners on first and second in relief of starter Dylan Turner, who stranded two runners in each of the first two innings and had a pair of strikeouts under his belt in a 1-1 game.
There were reasons why it made sense to make the move, McCann Tech Justin Howland explained.
“Dylan’s been out with an injury,” Howland said. “He’s missed a couple of games. He hasn’t thrown since the last time we threw him against Lenox (on April 27).
“He was getting us out of jams, but I didn’t want to wait for the jam he couldn’t get out of.”
Fortunately, Howland had four other pitchers with at least 10 innings and solid earned run averages this spring to turn to.
First man up was Gilman.
“Nick has got the experience,” Howland said. “He’s been a gamer all year, and I knew that he’d come in and close the door for us.”
Turner, meanwhile, went to third base, where he provided solid defense, including on the last play of the game, charging a ground ball on the grass and delivering a strike to Lukas Rylander at first to strand the tying run at third base.
“I love [Turner] for accepting the fact that I took him out, and he didn’t hang his head about that,” Howland said.
Both teams got a run across in the first inning, and it stayed a tie game until the fourth.
Lenox’s Zack Nicotra was hit by a pitch to lead off the game. He moved up on Mason Abdalla’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Jack Hicks’ single to right to make it 1-0.
The Millionaires got runners to second and third with one out, but in a pattern that repeated throughout the game, they were not able to get another run across.
“No timely hitting today, that was the difference in the game,” Lenox coach Kevin Downer said. “They worked hard. We had our chances. No timely hitting today. That’s baseball, unfortunately.”
McCann Tech cashed in its first chance in the bottom of the first.
Gilman hit a one-out single and came all the way around to score on Rylander’s double to right center.
Lenox pitcher Max Shepardson was able to hold the Hornets to just the one run, stranding the first two of eight runners he left on base in six innings of work.
McCann Tech had runners at second and third with nobody out in the third, but Shepardson struck out the next hitter and got the next two outs on a comebacker and a ground ball to second to end the threat.
But the Hornets were able to take the lead one inning later.
With one out, an error allowed Jacob Howland to get all the way to first on a ground ball, and he scored when Hayden followed with a single to left to make it 2-1.
Turner – and his defense – did the rest.
He retired the side in order in the fifth and sixth innings.
In the seventh, Lenox got a leadoff walk from Seamus Cooney, who was replaced by Bryce Hoff on a fielder’s choice. Hoff eventually made it to third with two out, and, after a hit-batter put runners at the corners, Gilman induced a ground ball to Turner at third to end the game.
“We’ve been working as a team all year, and we wanted it very bad,” Gilman said. “We’ve wanted it all season. We’re going to do everything it takes to win. We’re a family.”
Lenox (8-10) hosts Franklin Tech on Thursday afternoon.
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