Twenty four hours after the Perfect Game USA poll tabbed the Chattahoochee Valley baseball team as the # 18 team in the land, the NJCAA released their poll and named them the 5th ranked team in the country. With a huge 3 game road series versus three of the top teams in Georgia, including 18th ranked (NJCAA) West Georgia Tech, the Pirates would certainly put that lofty ranking to the test.
When the smoke cleared on Saturday afternoon, the Pirates completed a three game sweep that gives them a perfect 16-0 record headed into conference play this coming weekend.
The Pirates began the road swing on Thursday at an always tough, Georgia Perimeter College in Covington, Georgia. Coach Thomas sent freshman, Dalton “Big Donkey” Rentz to the mound and, in less than ideal baseball weather, The Donk did not disappoint. Rentz tossed 6 complete shutout innings of baseball, striking out 4, and allowing only 3 hits while earning his 3rd win of the season.
With GPC beginning conference play next week, the Pirates saw a barrage of the Jaguar’s top pitchers. However, Chatt Valley was able to jump on starter Dawson Brown in the second inning, as Cam Sperry delivered a 2 run single to score Ty Abbott and Timmy Massengale to give the Pirates an early lead they would never surrender.
While Rentz was doing work on the mound, the offense gave him a cushion in the 5th, 6th, and 7th innings, when Nick Jones hammered a 2 out triple off the right field wall to plate Dominique Smedley while David Levy continued his hot hitting with a 2 out RBI single of his own in the 6th. Ty Abbott collected his second of three hits in the 7th to score Jared Martin to give the Pirates a 5-0 lead, as Big Donkey handed the ball over to the bullpen, in the person of reliever, Colt Ramsey in the 7th.
Unfortunately, Ramsey was not able to throw up any zeroes, as the Jags rallied for 2 runs. However, Nick Jones came on to snuff out the fire, tossing the final 2 2/3 innings to earn his 2nd save of the season.
With Abbott’s RBI single in the 9th, the Pirates finished off the Jaguars for a 6-2 final score, sweeping the season series from Georgia Perimeter.
The Pirates headed west on Friday to Douglasville, Georgia for a top 20 matchup with the 18th ranked Golden Knights of West Georgia Tech. Pirate ace, Ben Taylor, got the start and in similar icy conditions as Rentz’s game on Thursday, was completely dominant. Big Ben threw 6 2/3 shutout innings of his own, allowing only 2 hits, while punching out 5 Techsters.
Facing yet another # 1 starter in Tech left hander, Brad Bartlett, scoring appeared as if it were going to be tough to come by on a cloudy, blustery, 40 degree day. Nonetheless, the Pirates got on the board in the second inning on JD Perry’s 2 out RBI single to put CVCC up 1-0.
Taylor continued to do his job and Jared Martin added to the lead with a 2 out RBI single of his own in the 5th inning. Clinging to a 2-0 lead in the top of the 7th inning, the Pirates added 2 insurance runs to put the game out of reach.
Again, Chatt Valley had a little 2 out magic. With 2 out and no one on base, Jared Martin singled, followed by a Nick Jones single. A red hot Ty Abbott delivered an RBI single to push the lead to 3-0, and Big Time Timmy Jim Massengale collected his third hit of the day to score Jonesy to make it a 4-0 game.
Taylor exited with 2 out in the 7th with runners on 1st and 2nd. Kevin Moore entered the game, and after a walk to load the bases and give the Knights life, he punched out the next hitter to end any hopes of Tech climbing back into the ballgame. After a clean 8th inning, Nate Morris pitched the 9th inning, tossing 92 mph heaters past the Golden Knight hitters to finish off the 4-0 shutout of West Georgia Tech.
Saturday saw the third consecutive GCAA foe in old rival, Andrew College. With temperatures once again in the 40’s and snow flurries sporadically hitting the area, freshman Hunter Mitchell helped in icing down the Fighting Tiger bats with another outstanding start.
With a relative slow start offensively, the Pirate got rolling in the middle innings, scoring at least 1 run from the 3rd-8th innings, as catcher Jared Martin got the scoring started in the third with another 2 out RBI single to give the swashbucklers an early 2-0 lead.
In the meantime, Mitchell continued to put zeroes on the board, as he, like Rentz and Taylor before him, tossed 5 shutout innings of baseball, surrendering only 3 harmless singles in a 3 strikeout performance.
With the rest of the Hoard Athletic Complex freezing, the Pirate bats were smoking hot, as they went on a hitting spree over the next 7 innings to take any thoughts of a Tiger comeback out of mind, collecting 22 hits on the day.
In the fourth inning, Jeff Ronpirin laid down an absolutely magnificent 2 out basehit bunt to score BTTJ Massengale to push the lead to 3-0. The Pirates exploded for 4 runs in the fifth, sparked by Nick Jones mammoth 2 run homer, his first of the season. Massengale continued his smooth stroke, adding an RBI triple, as well.
The 6th inning saw Martin and Massengale add to the lead with RBI singles, giving the Pirates a comfortable 9-0 lead, allowing the Pirate bullpen to get some needed work.
Flame throwing Matty Evenson, came on in the 6th and completely overpowered the Tiger hitters, as his fastball sat in the low 90’s despite the miserable conditions.
The offense, not yet done, added single runs in the 7th and 8th, as Martin collected his 4th RBI of the day on a sacrifice fly, while Chris Laye smoked an RBI double in the left center gap to cap off the Pirate scoring at 11 runs.
Will Thomas, Payne Kosobucki, and Chris Brown tossed the final 3 innings, allowing a single run on only 2 hits, to finish off an 11-1 Pirate victory.
The 16-0 Pirates will take the mid-week off in preparation for their conference opener next Friday, as they head to Alexander City, Alabama to to face the Trojans of Central Alabama.