Although the inconsistencies still exist, the Chattahoochee Valley Baseball Team is beginning to look closer and closer like the two time defending ACCC Southern Division Champions.
In the midst of a brutal pre-conference schedule and with the Pirates set to play 8 games in 9 days, and coming off a very impressive offensive performance against West Georgia Tech, CVCC continued their hot hitting and dominant pitching in Game 1 of the ABAC double header. Lefty Clint “Big Cat” Spratlin toed the rubber at Howard Lake Field and turned in his third consecutive dominant start as he absolutely handcuffed the Stallion hitters all day. Spratlin mixed his pitches well as he allowed only 3 hits over 5-plus innings of work, in which he struckout 6 and walked 3. The only blemish came against the last hitter he faced, when allowed to a 2 run homer to close out his day. The Pirate offense took about 3 innings to get going, but when they started, they never let up. Trailing 1-0 heading into the fourth inning, freshman sparkplug, David Levy, reached on a 2 out error and promptly stole second. Taylor Hinshaw followed with a game tying double. After Pat Olvaney walked, Cody Walker gave the
Pirates the lead for good with a 2 out single. JD Perry’s base hit bunt caused a hurried throw to give the Pirates another run on the ABAC error. The 3-1 lead would be all Spratlin needed, although the Pirate offense got right back to work in the 5th, as 4 hit by pitches and a bases clearing double by Olvaney gave CVCC and Big Cat plenty of breathing room en route to a 7 run 5th inning. Hinshaw would add a 2 run blast in the 6th in to push the final tally to 12-3 in favor of the hometown Pirates.
Game 2 got off to a good start, as Cody Walker showed off his rifle arm by gunning down 2 ABAC baserunners in the top of the first inning. Tim Massengale got CVCC on the board early with a 1 out double to plate Martin Castro, who reached on a walk. Starter Danny Szathmary was solid in his first start of the year, but was the victim of poor infield defense, in which a harmless 2 run single evolved into a 5 run inning for ABAC. The Pirates battled all the way back by scratching for 2 in the third, 3 in the 6th and 1 in the 7th inning to fight back to tie the game at 7 after trailing 7-3 in the 4th inning. Nick Jones and Taylor Hinshaw contribute 2 RBIs apiece in the comeback, while Matt Nettles had a huge 2 out single to pull the Pirates with a run. In the meantime, Trace McDaniel did his part by holding the Stallions scoreless in his 2 plus innings of work. Trailing 7-6 in the bottom of the 7th, it looked the magic of Howard Lake was resurfacing for CVCC, as the first 2
hitters reached in the person of David Levy and Josh Sanders. First and third with none out, Taylor Hinshaw plated the game tying run on an RBI ground out. Another Cody Walker single put Hinshaw at 2nd base when Matt Nettles looked like he delivered the game winning single, but unfortunately, the ABAC right fielder threw a perfect strike to gun down Hinshaw at the plate to force extra innings. Both teams went quietly during the next frame. Matt Vollenweider, in his third inning of work, lost his command, and a single, walk, and hit by pitch later, loaded the bases for ABAC with 1 out, and then took the lead on a bases loaded walk. The Pirates went 1-2-3 in the ninth to drop another close one at home.
Monday’s game versus Faulkner University’s freshman and sophomore squad gave the Pirates an opportunity to get a lot of guys in the game, as well as get some young arms some work on the hill. Ben Taylor was, once again, magnificent in his 4 innings of work as the starter, allowing only 1 hit and punching out 6. However, freshman southpaw, Willy Thomas, did his best to out duel Taylor, as he struck out 5 of the 6 outs he recorded in his 2 innings of relief. Sammy Altman got his second appearance on the season, while tossing the final frame and striking out 1. Offensively, the Pirates scored early and often, with 5 in the first, 3 in the second, 4 in the fifth, and 3 more in the 6th in the 10 run rule shortened game. Shortstop David Levy continued his red hot play by collecting 4 hits and 5 RBI’s. Kendell Brinson added 2 doubles and 3 RBI’s, as well. Catcher Neal Chambless had a great day offensively, by chipping in 2 hits of his own to complement his 3 RBI’s.
The Pirates have climbed back to .500 at 7-7 on the year. Although scheduled to travel to East Georgia on Tuesday, February 14th, rain has pounded the bi-state area and the game has been postponed until a later date that has yet to be determined. The Pirates will take a few days off and hit the road down to Chipola College in Mariana, Florida for their annual invitational tourney from Friday, Feb. 16- Sunday, the 18th.