In a matchup of two powerhouse programs, the Chattahoochee Valley Pirates went into a tough environment in Alexander City, Alabama and walked away with a 2 out of 3 series win over the Trojans from Central Alabama.
Game 1 was a classic example of giving a baseball game away. The Pirates jumped out on top of lefty Shawn Smirnoff 1-0 on Trevor Kieboom’s RBI single.
Pirate ace, Dalton Rentz quickly retired the first 2 batters in the bottom half, but a throwing error, a single and a homerun put the Trojans on top 3-1. CACC added another run in the second on another 2 out single to push the lead to 4-1.
However, the Pirate offense woke up and exploded for 5 runs in the third and fourth. Kieboom delivered another run scoring single, while Jake Maziar continued his hot hitting delivering another RBI hit, and JD Perry followed him with one of his own to retake the lead at 5-4. Grayson Ivey drew a bases loaded walk to give Rentz some breathing room at 6-4.
Rentz went into shutdown mode over the next 5 innings, retiring 10 straight Trojans and 15 of 16 in what appeared to be a righting of the ship. Unfortunately, after a leadoff walk followed by an error in the 8th, CACC tied the game at 6 on a Jalen Lawson 2 run single.
The Pirates had a chance to retake the lead, but a baserunning miscue cost CVCC a run scoring opportunity in the top of the 9th. Rentz went back out and competed his tail off, but a single, a walk and basehit bunt loaded the bases with none out. Chris Brown came on and quickly got ahead 0-2, but in an attempt to throw a back foot slider, he hit Kyler Deese to push across the walk-off win for CACC.
Game 2 was literally like watching 3 different games, as the Pirates jumped out to a 6-0 lead and appeared to be en route to an easy win. Dylan Lee threw up zeroes for 4 innings and was cruising.
Jake Maziar put CV on top in the second with another RBI single, while Jared Martin plated 2 runs in the third, and a basehit bunt bunt by JD Perry resulting in a throwing error added 2 more. With the score 5-0, John Holland scored on a wild pitch to push the lead to 6-0.
After the Trojans scratched for one in the 6th to close the gap to 5-1, the Pirate defense absolutely fell apart making 3 errors behind Lee en route to a 6 run inning, and a 7-6 lead. Reliever Mitch Shelby came on to finally settle things down and end the nightmare of an inning.
Not to be outdone, the offense came right back in the 7th and scored 3 runs on Maziar’s 3rd hit of the day, resulting in 2 more runs that came right after Jared Martin scored to tie the game on a wild pitch. Up 9-7, Shelby allowed a run in the 7th to make it a 9-8 game.
Colt Ramsey making only his second appearance of the year came in and absolutely shut the door over the next 2 1/3 innings. Allowing only 1 hit and striking out 4 in earning his first win of the season.
Chatt Valley added one more insurance run in the eighth on Grayson Ivey’s single to push the final margin to 10-8.
Game 3 was a pitching duel for the ages as CACC ace John Michael Knighton matched up against CVCC’s hottest pitcher, Hunter Mitchell. Both pitchers were dazzling as they both hung zeroes on the board through regulation in the 7 inning game.
Run scoring opportunities were scarce for both teams, as the Pirates best scoring opportunity came in the 7th, while the same was true for CACC, when Mitchell and the Pirate defense pulled a Houdini act to get out of a huge jam.
In a scoreless game in the bottom of the 7th, CACC drew back to back one out walks, and after a single to load the bases with only one out, Coach Thomas elected to leave the middle infielders back and only bring the corners in. The gamble paid off, as Mitchell induced a 4-6-3 double play to end the threat and the inning.
Then the unlikely happened as the Pirates erupted for 7 runs in the top of the 9th, as Jared Martin led off with a triple, Trevor Kieboom was hit by a pitch and stole second, and Cam Sperry drove a single threw a drawn in infield to give the Pirates a 2-0 lead. The scoring didn’t end there though, as JD Perry laid down an RBI bunt, James Cunningham and John Holland both drove in runs and Martin completed the scoring with a sac fly to center to give Mitchell a 7-0 lead.
Huntbo finished with a flourish, striking out 2 in the 9th to seal the deal and the series win.
The Pirates are now 33-8 on the year and lead the Central Division with a 13-3 record. CVCC will travel to Wallace-Selma on Tuesday for a 3:00 eastern game.