AMHERST, Mass. -- McCann Tech senior Megan Goyette Wednesday played with fire and blazed a trail to the Western Massachusetts Division 3 title game.
Goyette and the Hornets earned a 6-3 win over Mount Everett on Sortino Field to earn a shot at top-seeded Turners Falls (20-2) in Saturday’s sectional final.
The Eagles made McCann Tech fans sweat every step of the way.
After the Hornets took a 6-2 lead into the bottom of the fifth, Mount Everett scored a run in the bottom of the frame, loaded the bases in the sixth and got the tying run to the plate in the seventh.
Goyette, who stranded 11 runners in the game - at least one in each inning -- left five on base in the last two innings of a three-run game to lead the third-seeded Hornets (17-5) to their sixth straight win.
“Well, my catcher, she calls all my pitches,” Goyette said. “She knows where to place them. So, hopefully, that’s where they hit it. … When I had the bases loaded, I actually threw a changeup. She called that, and she called all my other pitches.”
Catcher Aubrey Tetlow -- who went 1-for-4 and scored a run for the Hornets -- also made a big impact in the third inning, taking a throw from shortstop Hannah Stack and a blow from a runner attempting to score. Tetlow held onto the ball for the out, stayed on the ground for a moment and, after getting checked out by the on-site trainer, got right back in the game.
Hornets coach Robin Finnegan said that whether it was Tetlow bouncing back after the collision or Goyette rallying after allowing baserunners, resiliency has been a hallmark of the Hornets this spring.
“That’s what this team has done all year long,” Finnegan said. “They just keep fighting. They make a mistake, they get mad at themselves, but they just keep fighting.
“And that’s exactly what they did.They didn’t give up. We knew it was going to be a battle. We didn’t really expect what the first inning brought us, but we took advantage of it.”
For the second time Wednesday afternoon, a Berkshire County team suffered a rugged early inning that was too much to overcome. For Mount Greylock in the opener, it was a 10-run second against Turners Falls. For the second-seeded Eagles (14-8), it was a five-run first.
Mount Everett committed a pair of errors and McCann Tech earned four walks to make the most of its one hit -- a Tetlow infield single -- in that first inning.
Stack scored the game’s first run on a bases-loaded walk after reaching on a walk herself to lead off the game. Mya Daigneault later plated a run with another bases-loaded free pass.
“We were trying to keep the positivity up and keep the energy up,” Mount Everett’s Gwendolyn Carpenter said. “That was not ideal, to start the game that way, but that’s the game for you. We didn’t make the plays we needed to make in that first inning. And once we settled down and took a deep breath, we were able to kind of get back into it.
“It’s unfortunate when things like that happen, but we tried our best to keep the energy up.”
Mount Everett got one run back in the second when Makenzie Ullrich led off with a single and moved around on a couple of errors.
Another error in the third allowed Carpenter score after she drew a leadoff walk, making it 5-2.
The Eagles got within two runs of the Hornets in the fifth. Carpenter again led off with a walk, stole second and then stole third and scored on an errant throw. Marion Devoti followed with a double, and Emma Goewey worked a walk to give Mount Everett first and second with nobody out.
But Goyette struck out the next hitter and then snared a line drive up the middle and doubled off a runner to end the threat.
She ended the bases-loaded jam in the sixth with the last of her five strikeouts.
The final out, to strand a pair in the seventh, came on a fly ball to Sarah Fortini in left.
“I rely so much on my defense,” Goyette said. “Myself, I’m not an overpowering pitcher. People do hit me, very frequently, so I rely solely on my defense.”
McCann Tech will need to be on its game in all phases on Saturday against a Turners Falls program that has been to five straight state title games -- winning it all in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
“Turners is a great program,” Finnegan said. “Right now, this is icing on the cake for us, and it’s an honor to play them.
“You know, this is why you play the games. Anything can happen. You never know. I’m looking forward to it. And, look, if we lose, we lose. As long as we play a good game and the girls give 100 percent, I’m happy.”