NORTH ADAMS -- The McCann Tech baseball team knows what's at stake with every game now. One win puts them in the Western Mass. tournament.
They're pushing for that win, too -- maybe even a little too hard.
The win the Hornets so desperately want eluded them again Wednesday afternoon, as Westfield Vocational broke open a tight game with a four-run sixth inning en route to a 5-1 win at Joe Wolfe Field.
McCann pitcher Sean Davis had kept the Tigers' offense off balance for the better part of five innings before the middle of the Westfield Voc order got to him in the top of the sixth. Reid Phillips' leadoff double down the left-field line was followed by back-to-back walks, and Nick Wood beat out a bunt single to score Phillips with the go-ahead run. A balk led to another run, and Walter Halluck followed that with an RBI double to right.
"I've been seeing a pattern the last several games, of that one inning we just can not get out of," McCann coach Pat Ryan said. "Today, it was the sixth.
"I give them the reality of it all, that walks will kill you and errors will kill you. The outcome is runs."
Davis didn't allow another hit after Halluck's double, but the damage was already done. Tigers pitcher Jake Parsons only allowed three hits, and Davis' RBI groundout in the third inning was the only run the Hornets could manufacture. Parsons struck out 11 Hornets.
"This was the time we had to get going and get the fire started," Parsons said of the sixth-inning surge.
For his part, Davis struck out 11 Tigers, and pitched himself out of jams in the second and third innings. Parsons' RBI infield single in the first inning, scoring Nick Clegg, was the only run Westfield Voc scored until the fateful sixth.
"He was very confident. He did very well today," Ryan said of his pitcher. "That [double] and the back-to-back walks, I think he got a little worked up there."
McCann did threaten in the bottom of the sixth, as Davis led off with a bunt single and Dalton Nicholas drew a walk. Charlie Bohl's sinking liner to right field two pitches later, however, was snagged by Clegg, who fired the ball to shortstop Wood to double off Davis at second base for a double play.
Dillon Carr grounded out to first base one batter later to end the threat, and McCann went down in order in the seventh.
The Hornets' next chance to qualify for Western Mass. comes Friday at Joe Wolfe Field against Putnam. If it doesn't happen then, McCann gets chances next week against Commerce and Pioneer Valley Christian to end the regular season.
"It's in our head every pitch, every second of the game," Davis said. "We're thinking, ‘We've gotta get this.' We're not relaxed, having fun, playing baseball, what we usually do.
"We're letting the pressure mount; if we want to get that 10th win, we're going to have to stop."
Westfield Voc. 5, McCann Tech 1
Westfield 100 004 0 -- 5 6 1
McCann 001 000 0 -- 1 3 1
Jake Parsons and Bailey French; Sean Davis and Charlie Bohl. W -- Parsons. L -- Davis. 2B -- Westfield 2 (Reid Phillips 1, Walter Halluck 1).