McCann Tech baseball walks off with 13-12 rollercoaster win over Lenox |






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McCann Tech pitcher Ozzie Webber struck out five over five innings of relief work.




NORTH ADAMS — It took nearly three hours, multiple comebacks, ebbing and flowing energy levels, a series of substitutions and, of course, Aaron Livsey’s left elbow, but the McCann Tech baseball team beat local Division IV rival Lenox on Sunday at Joe Wolfe Field.

The Hornets walked it off, quite literally, when Livsey was hit by a Cooper Shepardson pitch with the bases loaded in a tie game in the bottom of the seventh inning, winning 13-12.

Landen Champney scored for the third time, accenting the game’s final run by bending over and smacking home plate with an open palm.

Champney illustrated the see-saw nature of Sunday’s tilt perfectly. He opened the game with a one-out single out of the No. 2 hole and came around to score McCann’s first run as the Hornets led 5-3 after one inning. He then was set down twice by Lenox starter Luke Patella — looking in the second and swinging in the fourth — as the Millionaires knotted the game at 5-5 through three complete.

“Energy. Energy. It was energy,” said Champney after the rollercoaster game. “We pretty much got told if we didn’t step up our energy, we had running tomorrow at practice.

“It picked up, once we realized we were just falling on our faces a lot.”

Patella got himself on a little roll, hanging zeroes in the second and third after getting tagged for five runs on four hits and two errors in the opening frame. That gave the visitors a chance, and they took it. Lenox came from down 5-3, 7-5 and 11-7 to tie or take the lead again and again. Even when they looked completely down and out, coach Kevin Downer’s crew found a way.

McCann jumped back in the driver’s seat with a two-out, two-run single from Luke Thomas in the fourth inning to go ahead 7-5. In the top of the fifth, though, Lenox manufactured two runs of its own on three walks, an error and a sacrifice fly by Dan Munch.

“Welcome to my world. I believe the threat of conditioning from my assistant coach,” McCann coach Bill Farrell joked of the impetus behind McCann’s periodic rises. “It’s trying to get them to be consistent. We’re a mix of a lot of younger ballplayers, and we’re trying to have them stay focused throughout an entire game. And Lenox jumped on us early, we can’t get our heads down. It’s a learning process.”

The Hornets were coming off what Farrell called their worst defeat of the season, a mercy-rule loss mid-week. Sunday’s game had a little extra meaning for Farrell, as the first-year Hornets coach wore the maroon and gold for a stretch.

“A lot of the guys I coached are already gone and everything. We were actually the staff that put together that team that beat McCann for the Western Mass. title [in 2016],” said Farrell, who coached Lenox JV for seven years with Downer. “It’s really cool. Coach Downer and I wanted to get the extra game in, and it was a hell of a ball game.”

The Hornets got after it yet again in the bottom half of the fifth and got an RBI double from Omar Uqdah and a suicide squeeze bunt from Chase Vander-Woude — neither of whom were in the starting lineup — to go back in front, 9-7.

Ozzie Webber, who pitched five innings of relief, went out and struck out the side in order against Lenox’s 2-3-4 hitters in the top of the sixth, and then scored along with Champney — leadoff single — to expand the lead to 11-7 through six frames.

“I just got out of my head,” Champney said of his 3 for 5 day bracketing the two Ks. “First one, a couple pitches I wouldn’t typically swing at. But, I just kept the head up, got back in there and did what we needed to do.”

Of course, Josh Hunter led off the top of the seventh for Lenox and gave the Millionaires life with a single. An error only upped the pressure, and Brendan Hyde set his dugout aflame with an RBI double. Webber picked up a fielder’s choice when Nick Gillman got the lead runner at home on a grounder to first with the bases loaded. A ground out to third scored another run, but with two away the Hornets still led 11-9.

Brendan Armstrong rode the Millionaires momentum, though, and put a charge into one that reached the wall in right field. He circled to third while clearing the bases for a two-run triple, knotting the game at 11. Lenox wasn’t done, either, taking the lead on a Shepardson single that scored Armstrong.

Shepardson then moved out from behind the plate to try and save the game in the bottom of the seventh. But another Farrell move paid dividends. Josh Livsey replaced Uqdah as the third Hornet to bat in the No. 9 spot, and singled immediately through the left side of the infield to lead off. Vander-Woude then worked a walk, before Champney singled. Livsey, though, was gunned down at home plate trying to score the tying run.

With first base open, Lenox intentionally walked Austin Buda to set up a force anywhere, but Thomas had his second clutch hit of the game tying it with a single to score Vander-Woude.

After Webber popped up with the second out, Livsey took a pitch off his left arm, turned to his dugout and let out a yell.

“It’s a group effort,” Farrell said. “We carry 16 guys on our team. In order to win, I need an effort from 16 guys, and that’s what we pretty much got today.”

Webber started the game at DH, but came on in relief of starter Colin Booth in the third inning. Lenox’s first two batters had walked and moved into scoring position, when Webber got the call. He came on and got three straight outs, two by strikeout, though a run scored on an error. He struck out five in five innings of work, and only one of the seven runs he allowed was earned. Webber also had an RBI double in the first inning, as did catcher Seth Farnsworth.

Thomas was 2 for 4 with a run scored and three RBI. Aaron Livsey was on base four times and scored twice, while also getting credited with the game-winning RBI. Uqdah was a defensive replacement in the third inning and then went 2 for 2 at the plate with an RBI and a run scored. Gillman drove in a run in the first.

Patella struck out nine in five innings, but was tagged with eight hits and six earned runs. Munch finished 3 for 4 with two RBI. Brendan Armstrong drove in three runs, while Nate Armstrong reached base in all four plate appearances, but scored just once.

———
Lenox 311 020 5 — 12 10 6
McCann 500 222 2 — 13 12 5
Patella (5), Traversa (1), C. Shepardson (1) and C. Shepardson (6), Hunter (1). Booth (2+), Webber (5) and Farnsworth. W — Webber. L — C. Shepardson. 2B — L: Hyde; MT: Webber, Farnsworth, Uqdah. 3B — L: B. Armstrong.

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