After a big week of huge conference wins, Tuesday’s game at Wallace-Selma had let down written all over it. However, late inning offensive heroics and exceptional relief pitching helped propel CVCC to an 8-5 win over the home standing Patriots.
Starter Martin Castro had his best outing of the season, tossing 5 2/3 innings of 7 hit baseball and allowing no free passes. Although he surrendered 4 runs (all earned), he made only 1 mistake – a 2 strike, 3 run homer to the # 6 hitter after he had failed on 2 bunt attempts. The homerun turned a 2-1 Pirate lead into a 4-2 Pirate deficit. The Pirates had numerous scoring opportunities through the first 5 innings of the game, but just could not capitalize. The top of the first saw a golden opportunity slip away on an inning ending double play with runners at 1st and 3rd. Although CVCC managed to plate 2 runs in the second inning, they had bases loaded with none out, but never had a hit, scoring on a bases loaded walk by Jared Kahn and a sacrifice fly by Castro.
The 6th inning had both, promise and disaster, written all over it, as they loaded the bases once again with none out on 3 straight bunt singles. After a fielders choice at the plate and an infield pop up, the Pirates then saw themselves with 2 outs, the bases still loaded and no runs scored. Kendell Brinson then delivered a single to score a run, but an errant throw into dead ball territory cleared the bases and gave the Pirates a 5-4 lead. Will Thomas came in relief of Castro and retired a 6th inning threat. After a tough luck single tied the game at 5, Zach Helewksi recorded the final 2 outs of the 7th inning by throwing only 1 pitch, as he picked a runner off of 3rd base and catcher Neal Chambless threw a runner out attempting to steal third to end the Patriot threat.
After a scoreless 8th, Pat Olvaney had the at bat of the game, drawing a leadoff walk. He was lifted for pinch runner Dominique Smedley, who advanced to second on an errant pick off attempt. After Josh Sanders sac bunt, Taylor Hinshaw delivered an RBI go ahead single through a drawn in infield. Perry came on to pinch run and stole 2nd and 3rd on consecutive pitches and then scored on a wild pitch. After a Chambless walk and an eventual advancement to third with 2 outs, Castro laid down a perfect 2 out RBI basehit bunt to score the 3rd run of the inning to give the Pirates some breathing room with an 8-5 lead.
Matt Vollenweider came on to toss the 9th, surrendering 1 hit and striking out 1 to earn his 7th save of the season.
The Pirates now sit at 25-18 and 11-9 in conference play and have clawed their way back into 2nd place in the ACCC Central Division. CVCC will host Marion Military Institute on Thursday, April 12th, for a 2:00 eastern start.