Sophomore Day 2012 at Howard Lake Field saw a host of outgoing Pirates key a 3-0, 4-3 sweep of the visiting Tigers in the regular season finale.
Game 1 saw another dominant pitching effort by Clint “Big Cat” Spratlin, as he tossed 7 strong shutout innings, allowing 6 hits, with 6 K’s and 2 walks, earning his seventh win of the year, tying Dustin Dunagan for the team lead. In a well pitched, well defensed affair, the Pirates struck in the 3rd inning, when Cody Walker lead off with a single and eventually scored when Jared Kahn reached on an error by the MMI shortstop. The lead stuck at 1-0 until the 7th, when Tim Massengale tripled down the left field line and scored on the very next pitch, as Walker laced a line drive single up the middle through a drawn in Tiger infield.
Clinging to a 2-0 lead, Mike O’Neal came on in the 8th to retire the first 2 Tiger hitters, while Daniel Szathmary relieved O’Neal and punched out the Tiger DH for the final out of the inning. CV added one more insurance run in their half of the 8th, as Pat Olvaney smoked a 2 out single and later scored on Tim Massengale’s ground ball that the Marion third baseman threw into the 1st base bullpen.
Closer Matt Vollenweider came on to record his ACCC leading, 10th save of the year, in 1-2-3 fashion, while striking out 2 hitters.
Game 2 provided plenty of excitement and a fitting ending to the 2012 regular season. Zach Helewski took the mound for his final start at Howard Lake Field and tossed 5 innings of solid baseball, allowing 2 earned runs on 5 hits with 2 strikeouts and 2 walks. MMI struck first in the night cap, as they went 1st and 2nd with none out in the top of the 4th inning. After a pop up on a bunt attempt, another single loaded the bases with only one out. Lu got the groundball he needed, unfortunately it was not hit hard enough to roll the double play, as the Tigers got on the board 1-0 with 2 outs. The next batter hit a swinging bunt that Helewski was unable to field cleanly allowing the second run to score, but trying to end the inning, Helewski over threw 1st base allowing another run to plate, making it 3-0 Tigers.
The Pirates came right back in their half of the 4th, scoring 2 runs on a Tim Massengale RBI single and a Luke Ewing RBI walk. Helewski settled down and tossed a 1-2-3 5th and then gave way to reliever, Will Thomas, who put up a zero in the 6th frame. However, Thomas allowed back to back singles and a sac bunt to start the 7th. On came Trace McDaniel, who pitched possibly the best inning of the week, escaping a bases loaded jam with a punchout and groundout to end the Tiger scoring threat.
Down 3-2 in the final inning of the season at The Lake, sophomore Martin Castro laced a double in the right center field gap to lead off the inning. Taylor Hinshaw had 2 failed bunt attempts and then ripped a double of his own to score Castro and tie the game. Hinshaw’s double was the 33rd of his career, placing him atop the record book at CVCC. A sac bunt by Pat Olvaney led to a dramatic walk off suicide squeeze bunt by third baseman Josh Sanders, that scored pinch runner, Dominique Smedley, just ahead of the throw to home, making the Pirates a 4-3 winner to close out the 2012 regular season.
In action earlier in the week, the Pirates ripped Wallace-Selma, 12-1 on Thursday in a mercy rule game. CVCC was led by Dustin Dunagan, who tossed 6 innings of 6 hit baseball, earning his 7th win of the year. The Pirates were led by Cody Walker, Taylor Hinshaw and Pat Olvaney, who all had 2 hit days.
Tuesday saw the Pirates drop a key decision to Southern Union in a 7-3 loss in Wadley. Mike O’Neal got the start and pitched a great game until 3 free passes were his undoing in a 3-2 game in the 6th inning. Jared Kahn paced the offense with 2 hits, while Matt Nettles added a 2 run triple.
CVCC ends the regular season at 33-22 and finished tied with Southern Union for second place in the ACCC Central Division with a 19-13 record.
Up next is the ACCC Tournament in Ozark, Alabama, beginning on Saturday, May 12th. The Pirates will enter the tourney as the # 3 seed from the Central. Game time and opponent are not yet available.