Entering the 2014 ACCC Tournament, the # 1 ranked Chattahoochee Valley Pirates were certainly the favorite to hoist the championship trophy at the end and represent Alabama in the Alpine Bank JUCO World Series. However, the 8000 pound gorilla on Coach Adam Thomas’s back has always been game 1. This year, however, the monkey was lifted, as Pirate Ace, Dalton Rentz, tossed a one hit, complete game shutout to lead the Pirates past Wallace-Dothan in an 8-0 opening round win.
With a determine Governor team eager to knock off the # 1 team in the land, Rentz went to work early, striking out the first two batters of the game, and then allowed his one and only hit on a controversial infield single by Dothan’s Austin Whitlock, in which shortstop, John Holland went up the middle to snag a chopping ground ball, and what appeared to be a phenomenal play to beat Whitlock by a step. Unfortunately, he was called safe to ruin what would have been a no hit bid by Big Donkey.
The Pirate offense went to work early, as Jeff Ronpirin led the Pirate half of the first off with a single, while John Holland reached on a walk. After a Jared Martin strikeout, a double steal put runners at 2nd and 3rd for Trevor Kieboom, who delivered a sacrifice fly to put CVCC up 1-0.
While Rentz kept dealing, the offense went back to work in the 3rd, as Holland and Martin led off with singles. However, after loose dirt on the infield caused footing issues all night, Holland slipped down trying to go 1st to 3rd and was tagged out on the relay throw. With 2 out and Martin on 2nd, Cam Sperry delivered his first of 3 hits scoring Martin, who also scored on Grayson Ivey’s RBI single to give the Pirates a 3-0 lead.
The only minor trouble that Donk ran into came in the fourth inning, when a leadoff error opened the door of opportunity for the Govs. After a flyout to Tyler Lynn, Rentz walked the next 2 batters on close full count pitches. With the bases loaded and only 1 out, Dalton induced an infield popup and struk out Dothan DH looking to end the Wallace threat and preserve the 3-0 lead.
Rentz went into shutdown mode at that point and did not allow another baserunner the rest of the game. Meanwhile, the offense kept methodically adding to their lead, as Grayson Ivey delivered another RBI single in the 5th to push the lead to 4-0.
In the 6th, JD Perry singled was sacrificed to second by Kenny Ford, stole third and scored on Jeff Ronpirin’s sac fly. The Pirates added 2 more in the 7th, when Kieboom and Sperry reached on back to back singles to start the inning and were bunted up by Ivey. Perry then delivered a clutch 2 out, 2 run single to score both runs and put the Pirates up comfortably at 7-0.
With Rentz dealing, allowing only the first inning single, he was a man on a mission, as he punched out 9 in his opening game complete game effort. With an 8 run rule in effect after 7 innings in tournament play, the Pirates walked off on the Govs in the 8th, as John Holland delivered a one out double, and Jared Martin hammered in the walk off run with a single up the middle to end game 1 with an 8-0 shutout of Wallace-Dothan.