McCann Tech baseball team downed by Old Colony in championship game of state vocational tournament
NORTH ADAMS — McCann Tech baseball coach Ken Recore said that his Hornets played one of their better games all season on Wednesday in the Small School State Vocational Tournament championship game against Old Colony. That good, though, wasn't quite good enough.
The Cougars scored the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh inning when Ryan McGuiggan drew a bases-loaded walk to bring in a run, and the visitors got a three-up, three-down bottom of the inning to win 3-2 at Joe Wolfe Field.
The title is the fourth in five seasons for Old Colony.
"What sticks out in my mind, obviously a great pitching team with Jared Blondin and Dalton Tatro," Recore said of his crew, "but also, just gritty, staying in it, every single game they never quit.
"Sometimes it shakes out, and today, unfortunately, it didn't."
Old Colony scored the win by being patient at the plate. All three runs for the Cougars scored either via a walk, or with the run reaching on a walk.
The first run came in the top of the first. After a bus ride of just over three hours, Old Colony's Nick Furtado led off the game with a walk against starter Tatro. Tatro got the next two batters out, but Furtado moved bases on each out. Jacob Worden then came up, and hit a single to plate Furtado.
The Cougars then loaded the bases in the third with a single and two walks, before Reese Vandal came up and drew another walk, making it 2-0.
"We've been doing that a lot in the second half of the season, not trying to be over-anxious and making them throw the pitch that we want to hit," Old Colony coach Craig Lincoln said, "instead of trying to hit their pitch. It's helped us win two of our last three games, and has really helped in the second half of our season."
McCann started to come alive at the plate after the second run, though. In the home third, Tatro doubled after an Andrew Levesque single to put runners on second and third with one out, then after Worden got a pop-up in foul territory by Caleb Rondeau, Uqdah drew a walk to load the bases.
Worden, though, struck out Blondin in the next at-bat to end the threat.
The Hornets' runs came in the fifth. After Tatro got out of a jam in the top of the inning, the Hornets got him support with two outs. Rondeau started with a single, the Omar Uqdah reached on an error that kept both runners on. Blondin then stepped up and roped a single to left field to plate Rondeau, and Logan Briggs followed with a single himself to plate Uqdah.
McCann got a three-up, three-down sixth to come back to the plate, but in the home sixth Worden got three outs after giving up a walk to start.
The final out of the inning was Tatro, and that served as his final moment in the contest. Recore went to Blondin in relief to try and close up shop in the seventh, but Furtado greeted him by leading off with a single. The next batter popped up to Blondin for the first out, but the next two batters reached on a walk and an error. Blondin got the second out on a strikeout of Vandal, but McGuiggan stepped up next, taking the first pitch for a strike before four straight balls put him on first, and allowed Furtado to score.
In the home seventh, McCann went down 1-2-3 to end it.
"It's great to be back here," Lincoln said of getting the win. "We weren't here last year ... They took a little step back last year, and the guys got a little hungry and wanted to get back, and they fought to get back to this game."
Recore said in the aftermath that it was an "interesting" pitching dual between the starters.
"Their guy was kind of cruising, low pitch count, and Dalton was just grinding it out inning by inning.
"Both guys were able to work out of trouble. I think if you mirror them side-by-side, both were able to get ahead of hitters, had that offspeed pitch to keep people off balance, and both of them did a really nice job of pitching out of trouble."
As for Blondin, a first-year varsity player who excelled on the mound all season, Recore said: "That last inning, you want to talk about pitching out of trouble, he gave up that one walk that I know he was frustrated with, but other that that it was tough spot to be thrown in as a first-year varsity player. He's risen to the challenge all year for me in that case. I'm looking forward to having both [Tatro and Blondin] back next year to anchor the staff."
Worden went the distance, striking out eight on two walks and five hits. Tatro struck out four on five walks and six hits, while Blondin had two strikeouts in his inning of work.
Hunter Soares was the lone multi-hit batter of the game, going 2 for 4 with a run scored in the win.
Old Colony 101 000 1 — 3 7 2
McCann 000 020 0 — 2 5 2
Jacob Worden and Chris Hedlund. Dalton Tatro (6), Jared Blondin (1) and Andrew Koch. W — Worden. L — Blondin. 2B — OC (Hunter Soares), MT (Tatro).
Geoff Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, @GSmith_Eagle on Twitter and 413-496-6254.
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