Photo Gallery | Lenox tops McCann Tech to win Western Mass. baseball title
PITTSFIELD — It seemed only fitting that the Lenox baseball team made a little history in a ballpark that has seen more than its share of baseball lore.
Pat Colvin pitched a four-hitter and retired the final five batters of the game as third-seeded Lenox beat No. 5 McCann Tech 7-2 in the Western Massachusetts Division IV championship game, marking the Millionaires' first baseball title in more than four decades.
"It's crazy," said Colvin. "It's been 45 years. It was in the back of our minds the whole time. I thought about it during the game. This is for all the people who have been through the program, all the 3-17 years, the years we didn't come close to making the playoffs.
"This is for them."
This is also for the current crop of Millionaires, who scored two runs in each of the first three innings off of McCann starter Austin Miller. Lenox finished with seven hits, two off the bat of Luke Murphy. The second baseman drove in a run in the second inning with a sacrifice fly and then hit a two-run single in the next inning.
"Looking back from my JV years, we were pretty awful. We lost 36-1 to Drury. I think that was the most memorable loss," said first baseman Jack Ellrodt. "I've been with Patrick, Tyler [Coon] and all these kids for so long. It's just a great reward."
The year was 1971 when Lenox pulled off a basketball-baseball Western Mass. championship double. Lenox coach Kevin Downer was 8 years old.
"Words can't even describe it," Downer said. "When I took this program over, my No. 1 thing was to put a banner up on the gymnasium wall in Lenox and we did that today. These kids are a great bunch of kids and they deserve all the credit.
"I got goose bumps. I can't tell you how proud I am of these guys."
It was going to be an historic day for one of the two teams on Paul Dowd Field at Wahconah Park. After all, the Hornets were in their first baseball final since 1987.
This wasn't going to be the year that streak broke. The Millionaires got to Miller for two runs on two hits and an error in each of the first two innings. By the time the Hornets got to Colvin for a pair of runs in the top of the fourth inning, most of the damage had been done. The deficit proved to be too big of a hole for the Tri-County League champions to climb out of.
"It was great to be here and we have nothing to be ashamed of," McCann coach Pat Ryan said. "There's a winner, there's a loser. It didn't fall our way. What are you going to do?"
The Millionaires parlayed two hits, a walk, an error and three stolen bases into two runs in the first. Ellrodt's bloop single to left plated Murphy with the first run while Jacob Munch, pinch-running for Mike Downer, scored on an error by McCann shortstop Mike Ferrara.
While Lenox was putting runs on the board, Colvin was shutting the Hornets down. The senior right-hander took a no-hitter into the fourth inning. He lost it, and his shutout, on an RBI triple by Charlie Bohl. Bohl later scored on Robert Pecor's single.
"I was feeling good. My fastball was my main pitch," said Colvin. "My curve struggled until the fourth or fifth, but then I got it and it became huge for me.
"Getting those runs in the first inning was huge. It makes you go out and do your job.'
Lenox got a six-run cushion thanks to one hit and an error in the third. Murphy came to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded. He hit the first pitch from Miller into center field, scoring John Fontaine and Mike Hurley. That made it 6-0.
"I was just trying to come up with a big hit. I needed a big hit," said Murphy. "I was looking to get it out of the infield. There were two outs and I was looking to put it in play and not get a fly-ball out."
Colvin had one more jam to pitch out of in the sixth inning. Miller hit a one-out double to right and after Bohl walked, the Lenox starter got Pecor and Connor Guyette on consecutive fly outs to Fontaine in left.
In the seventh, Colvin struck out Robert Matte III and pinch-hitter Eathan Heller for his third and fourth K's of the game. Cam Anderson popped a bunt attempt back to Colvin, who squeezed the ball and then found himself under the proverbial dog pile in celebration.
While only one team can end its Western Massachusetts season as a winner, Ryan wanted to emphasize that the Hornets did not walk off Wahconah Park as losers.
"We've come so far from where we used to be. My team has got good chemistry and we worked together for all these wins," McCann catcher Charlie Bohl said as he packed up his gear for the final time as a Hornet. "I never thought I'd be at Wahconah Park playing in front of all these people. It's awesome.
"It's a crazy feeling to know that your team came this far."
Lenox advances to play Central Mass. champion Oxford in the MIAA Division IV semifinals today. The game will be at Westfield State University, with the first pitch scheduled for 4 p.m.
Austin Miller (5 1/3), Robert Matte III (2/3) and Charlie Bohl. Pat Colvin and Noah Hunter. W—Colvin. L—Miller. 2B—L (Connor Hanson), MT (Miller). 3B—MT (Bohl).
Contact Howard Herman at 413-496-6253.