The CVCC Baseball team continued their April push to clinching a post-season berth, beating Marion Military Institute 8-5 on Thursday.
Clint “Big Cat” Spratlin gave the Pirates exactly what they needed on the mound – 6 strong innings of 4 hit baseball, in which he allowed only 1 run (unearned) and struck out 7 Tigers. The lefty was completely dominant with a fastball that reached 90 mph twice and his kneebuckling 12-6 curveball. Offensively, CVCC wasted no time in getting on the board, as they posted 4 runs in the bottom of the 1st inning. After Marty Castro led the game off with a single, Luke Ewing was hit by a pitch and David Levy dropped a basehit bunt that the Tiger third baseman threw into the 1st base bullpen scoring both Castro and Ewing. Kendell Brinson followed with a HBP of his own and Pat Olvaney scored Levy on an RBI groundout. After Josh Sanders 2 out single, Taylor Hinshaw ripped off his first of four base hits, with a screaming double in the right center field gap to plate the fourth run of the inning.
Spratlin went to work from there, as he mowed down the MMI lineup for the next 5 innings, allowing only a single unearned run in the top of the 5th. The Pirate offense came right back in their half of the 5th, sending 10 hitters to the plate en route to another 4 run inning. Seven Pirates collected hits in the inning, led by RBI hits by Castro, Sanders, and Hinshaw to give the swashbucklers a comfy 8-1 lead.
Zach Helewski came on in the 7th inning in relief of Big Cat going 6 up, 6 down in the 7th and 8th with 3 punchouts of his own. The 9th got a little hairy, in which MMI plated 4 runs to bring the score to 8-5, but closer Matt Vollenweider came on to record the final out to end the Tiger threat.
The Pirates have improved to 26-18 on the season and 12-9 in ACCC Central play. CVCC has the conference bye this weekend and will return to action on Tuesday, April 17th as they travel to Alexander City in a huge matchup against #2 ranked and division leading Central Alabama.