NORTH ADAMS — Make no mistake, the game of the week for McCann Tech baseball was supposed to be its weekend clash with Mount Greylock.
Friday’s 10-9 win over Franklin Tech, though, may have galvanized the Hornets like nothing else has in 2022.
“At one point the team just huddled up, with none of the coaches, and they talked and whatever went on there, it lit a fire,” coach Justin Howland said after the Hornets improved to 8-3 on the season. “That was the turning point in the game. It was like they needed to not be told what to do, it had to come from them.”
McCann fell behind 4-3 in the third after building an early 3-1 advantage. The deficit grew to 7-3 as in the fourth Franklin put up another three runs. The visitors' bats were sizzling, every ball was finding a way to a gap, but Howland saw a change in demeanor that led to a seven-run offensive burst over the next two innings. McCann also finally forced a scoreless top of the fifth on Franklin’s seemingly relentless offensive attack which featured two three-run innings.
“This was a big win in a way, a good character win for us,” Howland said. “It was a big game for us because the last three (were blowouts involving the mercy rule). Now we got to play Greylock tomorrow. With McCann Tech baseball, really we can’t worry about who our opponent is at any point.”
McCann’s five-run fifth put the Hornets ahead to stay, 10-7. Single runs by Franklin, though, in the sixth and seventh made it a nail-biter. In the final frame, pitcher Aaron Livsey recorded a key strikeout following a leadoff double. A passed ball led to a run for Franklin but Livsey survived a one-out hit batsmen by inducing fly ball outs to left and right to close out the game.
Landon Champney ripped a single and a long double and drew a walk as he scored three times. Ozzie Weber had one of his three hits (3-for-3 on the day with a walk) in the Hornets' fifth which bunched together four hits, two walks and began with Josh Livsey reaching via a hit-by-pitch. Josh Livsey scored on Austin Buda’s triple to the fence. Buda scored due to an overthrow of third base on the play, knotting the game at seven.
The rally continued with opposite-field base knocks by Seth Farnsworth and Aaron Livsey, who then both moved up on a passed ball. Farnsworth scored on a wild pitch on which Livsey moved up to third. Jacob Howland, who earlier had solid base hits in the second and fourth innings, lifted a sacrifice fly bringing home Livsey with an insurance run. Champney put the Hornets in double digits as he walked, took two bases on an errant pickoff attempt and scored on a passed ball.
Weber, who put McCann up in the first inning, driving home Champney with an RBI single, said the win was big and the team has a good level of focus as they head down the stretch.
“We’re putting together good at-bats, I’m seeing the ball well, just trying to put good swings on the ball,” Weber said. “I’m just trying to help the team, personally, trying to get on base when I need to get on base, drive in runs in those situations when there are guys on base.”
He said the Franklin win was a good springboard for the weekend showdown with Greylock, set for 11:30 a.m. Saturday morning.
“Hopefully we can carry the kind of energy we had at the end of this game into the next one, that’s what we need to do,” Weber said.
Aaron Livsey pitched 3 2/3 innings in relief for the victory, striking out four.
Collin Booth cracked a two-run single in the fourth helping ignite the Hornets comeback from down four runs. He also drew a pair of walks on the day.