McCann Tech softball rises to occasion, drops Mount Everett in Western Mass. D-III semifinals
Amherst — McCann Tech's pitcher-catcher duo of Meg Goyette and Aubrey Tetlow have jumped through all the hurdles in their four years as members of the softball team. When they started as freshmen, they came up one game short of the Western Massachusetts Division III tournament. As sophomores, they made it to the quarterfinals, and then the semifinals as juniors.
With that in mind, it only makes sense that, as seniors, these two get a shot at a Western Mass. title. The Hornets defeated the Mount Everett Eagles 6-3 on Wednesday to earn a spot in the Western Mass. championship this Saturday against Turners Falls.
"I can't say enough about our team," Goyette said. " We worked so hard to get to this point and had extra motivation after coming up short last year."
It is fitting that, after falling to the Eagles 3-2 in the semifinals last year, the Hornets took advantage of an opportunity to get revenge over the Berkshire County foe.
"We were all relaxed," coach Robin Finnegan said. "We wanted some redemption from last year's 3-2 loss. Mount Everett has a great program and to have three Berkshire County teams (Mount Greylock played in the other game) in the semifinals is amazing."
The calm, cool, and collective Hornets started the top of the first inning by batting around, however, an infield hit by Tetlow was the only hit the Eagles surrendered. Four walks and two errors powered the Hornets to a quick 5-0 lead.
"There is the pressure of being [at UMass] and having all the fans above you," Mount Everett coach Josh King said. "I think it was one of those things where a couple outs in the first inning makes a world of difference in terms of confidence."
After the rocky first inning, the Eagle defense and pitcher Faith Angell settled in. The Everett junior looked like the pitcher who threw a perfect game just days earlier in the quarterfinals, allowing just one run and one hit through the final six innings and finished the afternoon with 12 strikeouts.
"We could've produced better," Tetlow explained. "We did what we had to do to get the runs. We stayed true to ourselves and fought hard."
While the Eagles silenced the McCann bats, the five-run first was more than enough for Goyette, who worked her way out of jams all afternoon. The Hornet ace allowed just six hits on the afternoon while striking out six.
She ran into some trouble in the fifth, as the Eagles had runners at second and third with no outs, but Goyette stayed calm and recorded a strikeout for the first out of the inning. With one out, Makenzie Ullrich rocketed a pitch right back to Goyette, who snagged it out of the air and fired for third before the runner could tag for the inning-ending double play to preserve the 6-3 lead. As the Hornets exited the field, they were greeted by Finnegan, who was leaping out of the dugout.
"I knew today I had to come out today and show some big-time enthusiasm and everyone go crazy a little bit out there in order to keep them relaxed," Finnegan explained. "I didn't want them to come out tight or feel the pressure."
The Eagles only had six hits on the afternoon, but chipped away at the lead with heads-up base running.
"Even in situations in games that don't start out how we like there are still another six or seven innings to fight back," Everett's Gwen Carpenter said. "I've always wanted to lead with energy and excitement."
Carpenter finished the afternoon with two runs scored and loaded the bases after being hit by a pitch in the bottom of the six inning, however, there were two outs.
With the go-ahead run at the plate, Goyette recorded a three-pitch strikeout to squash another threat by the Eagles, and again, was met by an electric Finnegan at the dugout.
"[Finnegan] gives us that positive energy to keep fighting," Goyette explained.
That energy kept Goyette and the Hornet defense motivated into the seventh, where the Eagles had runners at first and second, but a pop-out marked the third out of the game and put the Hornets in the D-III championship.
"We wouldn't be here without a full team effort," Tetlow said. "It's amazing to be heading to a championship in my senior year. "
While the Hornets advance, the season ended for the Eagles, and so did the high school career of their talented bunch of seniors that included Carpenter, Madison Ullrich, Marion Devoti and Jaclyn Derwitsch.
"They're four great seniors and we're proud to have had them in our program," King said. "They showed the kids that they need to continue to work hard. You're allowed to be mad and upset, but the goal is to get back here and the seniors have done an incredible job displaying that work ethic."
"I'd say we are organized chaos," Carpenter said with a chuckle while describing the 2019 season. "We just love to have fun."
The Hornets will have a few days to rest before heading back to UMass on Saturday to face top-seeded Turners Falls in the championship, the same team that knocked the Hornets out in the quarterfinals back in 2017. First pitch is scheduled for 11 a.m. at Sortino Field.
"We have to put the ball in play and really make them move pitches around," Tetlow said. "Not a lot of classes out of McCann have gotten this opportunity (to play for a Western Mass. title) so this is going to be special."
McCann 500 010 0 — 6 2 4
Everett 011 010 0 — 3 6 2
Meg Goyette and Aubrey Tetlow. Faith Angell and Madison Ullrich. W — Goyette. L — Angell. 3B — ME 1 (Marion Devoti).
Jake Mendel can be reached at email@example.com, at @JMendel94 on Twitter and 413-496-6252.
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