NORTH ADAMS -- Sometimes taking what's given is all it takes to get what you want. That's exactly what the McCann Tech baseball team did Wednesday afternoon.
Smith Voc issued the Hornets 11 free passes, and they didn't waste the opportunities as they routed the Vikings, 17-2 in five innings.
"They had a couple kids out here throwing for them, they seemed to be struggling," T.J. Therrien said. "But a team like that, you got to take advantage of their mistakes and throw them into our favor, and that's what we did today."
McCann's Justin Racine cleaned up a lot of the mess the Viking pitchers created, driving in four runs on the day. His big hit was a 2-run single the second time he stepped to the plate in the first inning. He already had an RBI single and finished off his day with an RBI in the fourth.
"Even if we're up by that much and walk after walk, you still just got to give your best, just 110 percent all the way," he said. "There's no exceptions. You just got to play your hardest because that's why you're here on varsity."
But the day belonged to Justin Schneider who was zoned in from the start. Through three innings, he threw just 29 pitches (19 for strikes) and gave up just one hit and no walks.
He ran into some trouble in the fourth, where Smith Voc scored both of its runs. He hit a batter and walked two others in the inning.
"In the fourth, I seemed like I let up a little bit, just started getting loose a little bit,' he said. "Other than that, I thought I threw pretty well today."
Through the first three innings, he faced just one more than the minimum. It was a product of his approach: Throw strikes. Of the first nine outs, two were strikeouts, two were fly outs and five were groundball outs.
"We've had trouble throwing strikes last couple games," he said. "So throwing strikes is the key to just get people out, getting easy outs."
Schneider had wanted to pitch Tuesday, coach pat Ryan said, but Ryan told him his time was coming. Schneider didn't waste it.
"Today, he was confident," Ryan said. "He said before the game he was ready. He went out there and he did well."
The offense made sure to give him plenty of support, and it started early. The Hornets struck for nine runs in the first inning, sending 14 to the plate. Smith Voc starter David York had two outs in the first three batters, but then couldn't find his control and the Hornets were content to sit and wait for him to find it. He never did.
He walked six of the next eight, and the Hornets filtered in some timely hits. Racine had an RBI single and Adam Dufur had a two-run single. Sean Davis' walk in his second plate appearance (11th batter in the inning) was the end for York.
Dustin Parzyck came on and scored three more. He walked T.J. Therrien, bringing in a run and Racine hit his two-run single in the next at-bat to complete the scoring.
The Hornets nearly duplicated their output in the fourth, plating seven, which gave them a 15-run lead. The Hornets batted around without an out. They were aided by three consecutive errors, which allowed the lead to grow.
John LeClair hit a clean single to left, but Brandon Carleton had the ball roll under his glove for a two-base error. LeClair earned an RBI on the play, and another run also scored. Chad Raimer and Sean Davis then hit back-to-back grounder to Brandon Wendolowski who misplayed both, one to the right and one to the left. Raimer brought in a run with his grounder. Therrien followed with an RBI single, and Racine brought home another run when Jeff Goralski misplayed a ball at second. Dillon Carr brought in the crucial 17th run with a sacrifice fly.
"Only four [wins] left to Western Mass., so got to get them," Schneider said. "Got one more key one [today], should be looking good."
McCann Tech 17, Smith Voc 2 (5 inn.)
Smith Voc. 000 20 -- 2 2 6
McCann 901 7x -- 17 8 2
David York (2/3), Dustin Parzyck and Kevin Wackerbarth; Justin Schneider (4), Miller and T.J. Therrien (4), Dillon Carr. WP -- Schneider. LP -- York.
2B -- MT 1 (Chad Raimer).