In a three game matchup of two teams vying for championships in their respective conferences in 2013, the weekend series between the Chattahoochee Valley Pirates and the John A. Logan Volunteers lived up to its billing. When the smoked cleared on Sunday afternoon, Chatt Valley had pulled off a series sweep, winning 2-0, 8-0 in Saturday’s double header while mounting a dramatic come from behind, 13 inning, walk off 7-6 victory in Sunday’s finale.
The two perennially top 25 ranked clubs sent both of their aces to the mound in game 1 in Chatt Valley’s Ben Taylor and Logan’s Derek Thompson, in what turned into a classic pitcher’s duel. The Pirates struck first in the bottom of the 2nd inning, when Nick Jones drew a lead off walk, advanced to third on Tim Massengale’s single, and then scored on Cody Walker’s sacrifice fly to put CV up 1-0.
Taylor made that stick, as he put zeroes on the board over the next 5 innings, surrendering only 4 hits, while punching out 5 Vols and allowing no walks.
Clinging to a 1-0 lead through 6 innings, the Pirates put an insurance run on the board in their half of the 6th, when Jones drew a 1 out walk and advanced to 3rd on Ty Abbott’s double. After a groundout by Tim Massengale and walk to Walker to load the bases, Gaige Garrett dropped a gutsy 2 out, basehit bunt to plate Jonesy and give the Pirates a 2-0 cushion heading into the final frame.
After Taylor allowed a leadoff single in the top of the 7th, Jonesy took over to face a wave of left handed hitters, and promptly induced a 1-6-3 double play and struck out the final batter of the game to preserve a 2-0 win.
Game 2 provided the fans with much less drama, as the Pirates went to work early on the Vols, scoring 4 runs in the bottom of the first inning to give starter, Dalton Rentz, all of the run support he would need. Dominique Smedley got the day started with a double on the first pitch of the Pirate first inning, with James Cunningham following with a single to score pinch runner Luke Ewing. After a Jared Martin walk, Nick Jones stroked a double to put the Pirates up 2-0. BTTJ Massengale smoked a double of his own to plate Martin while Cam Sperry finished off the scoring with an RBI groundout.
Rentz went to work from there, tossing 6 complete innings of shutout baseball, allowing only 3 hits, no walks, while striking out 2 Logan hitters.
The Pirate offense went to work in the third on Ty Abbott’s massive solo homerun to right centerfield to push the lead to 5-0. Chatt Valley finished off the scoring in the 5th inning scoring 3 more runs on a Nick Jones sacrifice fly and bases loaded walks by Gaige Garrett and David Levy.
With an 8-0 lead, Rentz was lifted for sophomore righty, Nate Morris, who was making his 2013 debut, after being sidelined for a month. Morris was nothing short of phenomenal, tossing 92 mph fastballs past the Volunteer hitters for a perfect 7th in which he struck out two to close out the game.
With the series in hand, the Pirates took the field on Sunday attempting to finish off a sweep of John A. Logan and that looked very much in doubt for most of the game. Hunter Mitchell got the start for CVCC and was solid in his 5 innings of work, allowing only 3 hits. However, he was the victim of poor defense, as two Pirate errors cost him 2 unearned runs and was lifted in the 6th inning trailing 3-0.
The Pirate bullpen used 6 pitchers over the next 7 innings to stymie the Volunteer bats, as Casey Hanna finished the 6th inning. With Colt Ramsey entering in the 7th, he struck out the first batter of the inning, however, he reached on a past ball and eventually scored yet another unearned run to push the Logan lead to 4-0.
However, has been the case all year, the Pirates kept fighting and came right back in their half of the 7th, scoring 3 runs to pull within 1 run. After Massengale reached on an error to start the inning, Cody Walker followed with a single and Jerric Johnson walked to load the bases with no one out. Gaige Garrett then delivered a huge 2 strike, 2 run single to score Massengale and Walker. After a failed safety squeeze attempt, Johnson later scored on an errant pickoff throw by the Vol pitcher. With runners on 1st and 3rd and only 1 out, the Pirates got caught stealing on a botched first and third play to preserve the Logan lead at 4-3.
Dylan Lee came in relief of Ramsey and yet another Pirate error cost them 2 more runs, as they now trailed 6-3. However, a huge caught stealing by Walker ended the Logan threat in the 8th.
The Pirates came right back at them though, scoring 2 runs of their own in the 8th on an RBI groundout by Cam Sperry and with Ty Abbott scoring on a passed ball, who had reached earlier on a walk.
Matt Evenson finally put an end to the Vol scoring by tossing a clean 9th inning, while striking out a batter and setting the stage for the Pirates’ dramatic finish.
With one out in the bottom of the 9th and trailing 6-5, Jared Martin launched an absolute SCUD missile over the left field wall for a game tying homerun.
After yet another infield error in the top of the 10th, Evenson was able to record the first 2 outs of the inning, but with 2 out and runners on 2nd and 3rd inning, Coach Thomas turned to Nick Jones to attack the barrage of left handed hitters and he delivered, striking out the Logan lead off hitter to end the threat. Jones was absolutely dynamite in relief, as he tossed 3 innings of scoreless, 1 hit baseball, while whiffing 5 Volunteer hitters.
After swapping zeroes for the next 3 innings, James Cunningham drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second on Luke Ewing’s sacrifice bunt. After a Jared Martin infield single put runners at the corners, Nick Jones was intentionally walked to load the bases with one out for Ty Abbott. Abbott then hammered a 2-1 pitch deep into right field for the game winning, walk off single to give the Pirates an improbable 7-6 comeback win and series sweep of John A. Logan.
The three wins pushed the Pirates to a 7-0 record on the young season. Chatt Valley is scheduled to travel to Tifton, Georgia on Tuesday for a 3:00 pm eastern game against ABAC. However, with rain in the forecast, stay tuned for a possible postponement and reschedule.
NOTE TO FANS: As you take pictures at our games, please feel free to email them to Coach Thomas for use on the website.