After a weekend split with Wallace-Selma, CVCC’s road to the ACCC Tournament was simple – beat Marion Military on Tuesday and they are in.
The Pirates did just that, as they rode the right arm of sophomore Dustin Dunagan to an 8-2 victory clinching their 10th consecutive appearance in the conference tourney. Dunagan, battling sickness, an oblique injury, and an in-grown toe nail, tossed 7 dominant innings of 3 hit baseball, while striking out 5 and walking 3. The Tigers of MMI threatened only once, as they score their only run of Dunagan in the 3rd inning.
After falling behind 1-0, the Pirates answered right back in the top of the 4th and took the lead for good. After an inning full of walks, the Pirates tied the game on Jared Kahn’s bases loaded walk. Martin Castro, with 2 outs, worked the count full, and with all of the runners in motion, dropped a single in front of the left fielder that cleared the bases to put CVCC up 4-1. Dunagan took over from there and held the Tigers at bay through 7.
CVCC jumped back on the board again in the 6th to virtually put the game away, plating 4 more runs, with RBI hits by Taylor Hinshaw and David Levy. Mike O’Neal took over for Dunagan in the 8th and struck out the side and handed the game over to Matt Vollenweider to close out the 9th and clinch the Pirates tournament berth.
Saturday’s games were all about the pitching staffs, as CVCC won game 1, 2-1, on a walk off walk by Josh Sanders and dropped game 2, 4-1. Starter Zach Helewski went the distance in the first game, as he tossed 9 beautiful innings of 6 hit baseball, surrendering 0 walks and 1 earned run. After scoring a run in the bottom of the first, the Pirates did not threaten again until the 8th when they loaded the bases with none out, but, unfortunately were not able to push a run across. After Helewski stifled a Patriot threat in their half of the 9th, the Pirates went to work. A handful of walks and hit by pitches opened the door for a very anti-climatic but very much needed win, in which Josh Sanders took a 3-1 pitch for ball 4 to plate the final run in the 2-1 win.
Game 2 was much like the first in which the Pirate offense never got started. An error filled 2nd inning gave Wallace a 3-0 lead in which CVCC just simply could not overcome. The Pirates popped up in 16 of their 21 outs and where only able to push 1 run across. Freshman Ben Taylor pitched solid in his conference start, but unfortunately, free passes and poor defense were his undoing.
The Pirates are now 29-20 on the year and 15-11 in ACCC Central Division play and are in second place with 6 games to go on the season.