The daunting pre-conference schedule continued for the Chattahoochee Valley Pirates Friday at Chipola College with a double header split, with both decisions coming via the walk off finish.
In game 1 versus Chipola College, the #49 CVCC Pirates took on the host, and 2nd ranked Indians. It was a magnificent pitchers duel between both clubs aces, as Auburn signee, Mike O’Neal took on Chipola’s Robbie Coles, a Florida State commit. The game was exactly what one would expect, a scoreless affair after 6 1/2 innings. Both teams only threatened once offensively before the 7th inning. O’Neal pitched magnificently out of a 3rd inning jam in which back to back infield errors and a single loaded the bases with one out for Chipola. O’Neal promptly took control and struck out top rated junior college prospect, Austin Southall looking and then induced an inning ending ground ball to Tim Massengale at third base to stymie the Indian threat.
The Pirates first opportunity came with a one out single by Nick Jones in the next half inning, but he was left stranded at 2nd base with one out. Both pitchers continued their mastery of the opposing hitters when the Pirates looked to be in position to take the game in the top half of the 7th. Jones led off with a double, and after a strikeout on three bunt attempts by David Levy, pinch runner, Dominique Smedley advanced to 3rd base on a wild pitch.
A walk to Taylor Hinshaw brought Pat Olvaney up to bat. First and third with one out, Olvaney popped up in foul territory to end the Pirates golden scoring opportunity. In the bottom half of the inning, Chipola lead off with a double. A wild pitch later set up a 2 strike flare single to beat CVCC 1-0 in a great junior college baseball game between 2 NJCAA powerhouses.
Game 2 saw the Pirates face old Southern Division rival Wallace State-Dothan. As has been the theme of the 2012 season, the Pirates saw yet another outstanding starting pitcher. Pirate starter Dustin Dunagan was even better though, tossing 5 innings of 3 hit baseball and only allowing a single unearned run. CVCC jumped on the board first, with first inning doubles by Jared Kahn and Martin Castro. The lead held until and errant pickoff throw by Dunagan allowed a Governor baserunner to advance all the way to third base and eventually scored on a single. That is as close as the Govs would get, though, as Clint Spratlin came in relief of Dunagan, and The Big Cat went on the prowl. Spratlin was completely dominant in his two innings of work, allowing no hits, punching out 3 and picking off a Wallace base runner with maybe the most deceptive move in the ACCC.
Offensively, the Pirates hit the ball hard all day and had runners on each inning, but simply could not score on the Dothan ace. Going into the bottom of the 7th inning, Massengale lined out hard to left for the first out, which then saw catcher, Neal Chambless, who earlier gunned out 2 attempted base stealers, reach on an error. A beautiful hit and run single by centerfielder JD Perry, put runners at the corners with 1 out. A Kahn hit by pitch loaded the bases, saw a less than dramatic end to the game on the very next pitch, as the Wallace starter uncorked a wild pitch to the back stop as Chambless scored the game winning, walk-off run for the Pirates.
The Pirates stay at .500 on the season, as they run their record to 8-8. The rest of the weekend’s events at Chipola have been cancelled due to the onslaught of thunderstorms hitting the southeast this weekend. Next up for CVCC will be a road trip to Tifton, Georgia for a 4:00 game at ABAC on Tuesday, February 21st.