The Chattahoochee Valley baseball team held its annual Black & Blue dinner on Thursday evening, December 13th. This Pirate baseball tradition is in its 9th year, in which the winners of the Black & Blue Series eat steak, baked potatoes and baked beans, while the losing team enjoys hot dogs, potato chips, and baked beans, all of which is catered by Burt’s Butcher Shoppe in Columbus, Georgia.
Along with the fellowship and eating, the Black & Blue Dinner also serves as the Pirates’ fall awards banquet. This year, 13 baseball players were recognized in various categories.
BIG STICK AWARD – Nick Jones
This award goes to the offensive leader of the fall season. This fall, Nick led the team with a .388 batting average, a .571 slugging percentage, a .508 on base percentage, and 13 walks. Additionally, Jones was top 3 in runs, doubles, RBI’s, and runs scored.
STAFF AWARD – Ben Taylor
This award recognizes the top pitcher of the fall season. Ben was either 1st or 2nd on the staff in every meaningful statistical category. On the fall, Taylor posted a 5-2 record with a 1.19 ERA with 26 K’s and only 7 walks in 30 innings pitched. Additionally, he surrendered a miniscule .180 opponent’s batting average.
GOLDEN GLOVE AWARD – Cody Walker
This award honors the player that had the biggest impact defensively. Walker was the premier catcher in the ACCC this fall, as he completely shut down the opponents running game with his powerful right arm. Additionally, he was instrumental in help grooming a nearly all freshman pitching staff. Cody sported a .992 fielding percentage, committing only a single error on the fall, while throwing out over 50% of attempted base stealers.
ACADEMIC AWARD – Dominique Smedley
This award goes to the sophomore player possessing the team’s highest GPA. Dominique has dominated the classroom in his 3 semesters of work, earning a 4.00 GPA in his 51 hours of course work.
IRON PIRATE AWARD – JD Perry
This award recognizes the semester long individual challenge in the team’s daily CrossFit workouts. Points are earned based upon each players finish in each workout. Perry was an absolute beast this fall, as he earned 1005 points over the fall semester, with the next closest competitor a staggering 68 points behind. Along with his certificate, Perry earned an Iron Pirate t-shirt and a pass allowing him to miss any workouts in the spring up to 3 times.
NEWCOMER OF THE FALL AWARD – Dalton Rentz
This award honors the first year athlete (either freshman or transfer) that had the biggest impact on the team. Rentz burst on the scene as one of the top pitchers on the team, as well as the ACCC this fall, as he posted a 1-0 record with a 1.38 ERA, while striking out 28 batters and allowing only 8 walks in 26 innings of work. Additionally, opponents only managed to hit a measly, .200 against him.
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER AWARD – Casey Hanna
This award recognizes a second or third year athlete that has made the biggest improvement since arriving to CVCC. Casey transferred to CVCC last January and redshirtted while learning the CVCC Baseball system. After the spring, Hanna’s role and impact on the team for the upcoming fall were unknown and in question. However, Casey became one of the top relievers on the staff and has positioned himself to be one of the Pirate’s go to arms this spring.
ALEX CABRAL HUSTLE AWARD – Gaige Garrett
Named in honor of former Pirate, Alex Cabral, this award honors the athlete that displays the most and consistent hustle and work ethic on and off the field, as well as in the weight room. Gaige Garrett exemplifies this award with his “never take a day off, never take a play off” mentality. This is evident by his play on both the practice field and during CrossFit workouts. Like Cabby, there is never any question as to whether Garrett is going as hard as he can possibly go.
DO IT RIGHT AWARD – Nate Morris
This award goes to the athlete that does exactly what the award says – Does it Right. Nate is the epitome of detailed oriented and performs every drill, exercise, and task exactly as prescribed to his fullest capabilities.
TY McTIER COACHES AWARDS – Dominique Smedley, Chris Laye, Ty Abbott, Matt Nettles, and Tim Massengale
This award was created for, and named in honor of, former Pirate, Ty McTier. This award recognizes the consumate team player, leadership by example, work ethic, winning attitude, unselfishness, good citizenship, and character development over the course of their careers. These five young men mirror these qualities in a manner of which Ty McTier represented CVCC Baseball.
DIRTY PIRATE AWARD – Ben Taylor
This award was the original award created by Coach Thomas back in 2002 for the fall season’s most outstanding player. The phrase Dirty Pirate probably does not do the award justice, as it certainly has a seemingly negative conotation. However, the phrase “Dirty Pirate” comes with a badge of honor, as at the turn of the 21st century, as the CVCC Baseball began making its run toward ACCC prominence, opposing teams referred to CVCC as the “Dirty Pirates”, recognizing the tougness, grit, and exceptional work ethic that the Pirate baseball team displayed during its contests. Hence, the Dirty Pirate Award was born. The award has developed and evolved through the years, though, as the present day award recipient must display the following qualities and characteristics: toughness, work ethic, academics, hustle, good defender, one of best hitters or pitchers on team, leadership, high character, the ability and willingness to things the right way, and coachability. In essance, this award is the consumate award for which a CVCC Baseball Player may be honored. It is all encompassing of all of the above mentioned awards. Ben Taylor represents the Dirty Pirate mentality as well as anyone that has worn a Pirate uniform.