With an odd roster combination of returning nearly all of the pitching staff from 2013 and almost completely new faces on the position player end of things, the CVCC Pirates broke away from intra-squad to face their first outside competition of the fall with a four game set against Andrew College on Thursday and Friday.
Thursday’s action was held on the campus of Columbus State University, as Howard Lake Field is putting the final touches on its recent face lift. Pirate ace, Dalton Rentz, got the game 1 start and picked up right where he left off last spring, tossing 2, no hit, shut out innings to stymie the Tiger offense, while striking out 5 of the 6 outs he recorded.
Meanwhile, the Pirates struck first in the bottom of the second, when Jared Martin reached to lead off the inning. Tim Kennedy, running for Martin, stole second and scored when Ben Williams smoked a double off the left field wall to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead.
It was short-lived however, as the Tigers struck for 2 unearned runs in the top of the third off of Colt Ramsey, who was completely dominant in his outing as well, striking out the side in the third, while tossing a clean 4th to keep the score at 2-1.
While Mitch Shelby and Trevor Guthrie put zeroes on the board over the next 3 frames, that set up some final inning walk off drama for Chatt Valley, as Jake Maziar led off the inning with a single and was followed by another single by Jared Martin. Both lifted for pinch runners, JoJo Reyes and Drew Dunagan, Ben Williams sacrificed them both up a base to give the Pirates 2nd and 3rd and the game in the hands of Drew “Johnny” Lingo. Lingo delivered a chopper over the infield to score both Reyes and Dunagan to complete the exciting 3-2 win.
Game 2 saw more dominant pitching by the Pirates as Kevin Moore toed the rubber for CVCC. Moore was the victim of some bad Pirate defense, otherwise would have put up zeroes to go along with his 5 K’s in 2 innings. Nonetheless, Chatt Valley found themselves down 2-0 after 2 innings.
The Pirate offense answered in the third when Dunagan singled, stole second, and later scored on Kendall Ford’s RBI groundout to cut the deficit to 2-1.
The Pirate pitching staff continued to deal as Tyler Welch tossed two perfect innings with 2 K’s in his collegiate debut while fellow freshman Logan Haner tossed two shutout innings of his own, doing a fantastic job of pitching out of a 2nd and 3rd jam in the 6th.
The Pirates managed to tie the game in the 6th when Ford reached on an error and stole second base. He then scored on an error by the Tiger pitcher on Evan Trout’s comebacker. While Dan Lynn held the Tigers scoreless in the 7th, the Pirates were unable to do any damage in their half and the game ended in a 2-2 tie.
The Pirates traveled to Cuthbert, Georgia the next day, and the pitching staff continued its dominant ways, while the offense chipped in in game 1 to make it a bit more comfortable. Starter Matt Evenson was brilliant in his 2 innings of work, blowing fastballs by the Tigers with complete command of three pitches.
A new look Payne Kosobucki came on to stymie the Andrew offense with a new armslot and an overpowering outing, as he struck out the side in the third and punched out 2 more in the 4th inning.
The Pirate offense finally got going in their half of the 4th, putting up 4 runs, as Jeff Ronpirin and Jake Maziar led off with back to back singles. Jared Martin then reached on an error by the first baseman to load the bases with none out. Ben Williams was hit by a pitch to plate the first run and Johnny Lingo delivered a 2 run single to put the Pirates up 3-0. Lingo later scored on an error to give the Pirates a comfortable 4-0 lead.
Dylan Lee tossed the 5th and 6th innings, striking out 3 of his own, and put more zeroes on the board for the Pirates, while the CV offense added to its lead when Ronpirin led of with his second hit of the day in the 5th and stole second and third and scored on Maziar’s RBI ground out to push the lead 5-0.
With the Pirates in complete control, Cody Sheffield came in to close out game 1 to preserve the shutout and punching out a Tiger of his own, in a 5-0 Chatt Valley win.
Game 4 saw the Pirates jump out to an early lead as Kendall Ford doubled and Sam “Wham” Knight drove him in to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead in the first. Chris Brown started game 2 and looked like an ace himself, making quick work of his 2 innings, while collecting 3 strikeouts.
The Pirates added to their lead in the 4th, when Knight tripled to center and scored on Grayson Ivey’s single, who later scored on Reid Michalek’s RBI single to give CV a 3-0 lead.
Hunter Mitchell relieved Brownie and struck out the side in the third, however, a brief loss of command and bad defense saw the Tigers put 5 runs on the board to take a 5-3 lead on the Swashbucklers. However, the Pirate offense answered right back with 4 runs of it’s own in the 5th led by an RBI single by Kendall Ford and and an RBI groundout by Pappy Knight to regain a 7-5 lead.
John Kizzar handled the 5th and 6th, surrendering a single run on 2 punchouts, however, the highlight of the entire weekend came in the bottom of the fifth when the first 2 batters reached via a walk and basehit. The next batter hits a one hopper to Ivey at third, who steps on the bag for out one, tosses to Ford at second for out two and makes the turn just in time to Frank Wager at first to complete the rare triple play.
Clinging to a one run lead in the 7th, JoJo Reyes led off with a single and later scored on a passed ball to give Will Tillery a little breathing room to close things out.
And close things out he did, tossing a relatively quiet 7th, with a walk and a strikeout to complete an 8-6 win.
After a 3-0-1 start, the Pirates will go back to work with practice and intra-squad games this week and will head to Alex City, AL on Friday, September 13th, to the campus of Central Alabama for their annual fall classic to face Wallace State-Hanceville at 11:00 am and Wallace State-Dothan at 4:00.