Lenox Tops McCann for Western Mass Title
PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- None of the players on the Lenox baseball team were alive when their school last won a Western Massachusetts championship.
Neither were some of their teachers. Maybe not even some of their parents.
But the 2016 crop of Millionaires ended that drought Monday afternoon with a 7-2 win over McCann Tech at Wahconah Park.
“It’s crazy,” senior pitcher Patrick Colvin said after allowing one earned run in a complete-game win. “It’s been 45 years. It was in the back of our minds the whole time. I couldn’t think about it during the game.
“But this is for all of the people who have been through the program -- the 3-17 years, the years we didn’t even come close to making the playoffs. This is for them.”
And it also was for Colvin and his teammates, who celebrated a victory years in the making.
“I’ve been coaching these kids since they were 9-year-olds up at Duquette’s,” Lenox coach Kevin Downer said. “That’s a lot of hard work in the summer. That’s why we’re here today. These kids deserve all the credit.
“Great bunch of kids, and they worked hard for many summers to get where they are today.”
On Tuesday, Lenox will be in Westfield to face Central Mass champion Oxford in the Division 4 state semi-finals at Westfield State University.
On Monday, the Millionaires earned that right by scoring early and often to lend run support to their ace, who ran into trouble just once, allowing two in the fourth inning after Lenox had built a six-run cushion.
Luke Murphy started the Millionaires’ attack with an infield single leading off the bottom of the first. He stole second and third before coming home on a Texas Leaguer by Jack Ellrodt. In the meantime, Mike Downer walked, stole second and went to third on Ellrodt’s base hit.
The first of four McCann errors sent Downer home to make it 2-0.
The Hornets ended up committing an error in each of the first four innings -- allowing Lenox to score in each of those frames.
In the second, Conner Hanson’s leadoff double set the table for another two-run inning. In the third, Luke Murphy drove in two with a single to right to make it 6-0.
McCann Tech (18-6) got on the board in the top of the fourth when Charlie Bohl drove in a run with a triple to right center and scored on Rob Pecor’s single up the middle.
In the fourth, three walks and an error produced the final Lenox run.
“I believe there were some nerves,” McCann coach Pat Ryan said of the defensive miscues that led to two unearned runs off starter Austin Miller. “I can’t speak for my players. … They say, ‘Play like you’ve been there before,’ but let’s be real. Neither team has been there before.
“We gave our best, there’s nothing we can do. It’s over with. You can’t change it. We move forward and get better and stronger as a team.”
The Hornets accomplished a lot in 2016 -- winning their league title outright and reaching the school’s first Western Mass title game since 1987.
“It’s only been five years for me, but hands down, this has been my best team as far as jelling, coming together, being a family and playing together and enjoying the game and enjoying each other,” Ryan said.
“For the seniors, the commitment you have to make your senior year with prom and senior skip days and all this stuff going on … I told them in March, ‘You have to commit until June.’ And this team definitely committed until June. That’s why we’re here.”