Two days after a dramatic win over the second ranked team in America against Delgado, the Pirates, ranked # 1 for nearly 6 weeks took on the Buccaneers from Blinn College, Texas. Facing yet another left handed starting pitcher, Chatt Valley sent 9 game winner, and the top ERA leader in the nation, Dylan Lee to stymie the Blinn bats.
Dylan Lee continued his hot pitching, getting ground ball after ground ball, as he kept the Bucs scoreless in the top of the first. Jeff Ronpirin led off the bottom half of the first with a single, stole second and ended up at third on an error by the Blinn third baseman. However, he was left stranded there, as the heart of the order was unable to drive him in.
In the top of two, Blinn got things going, when their leadoff hitter reached on an error and the next batter followed with a single. With runners at the corners an none out, Lee did what he does best, and that was induce a groundball double play. However, the unearned run scored and gave the Bucs a 1-0 lead.
As has been the case all year, the Pirates answered immediately, and did so with two out damage. After Cam Sperry led off with single, he was eradicated on a one out fielder’s choice by Tyler Lynn. A JD Perry single put runners on the corners. After Perry stole second, Kenny Ford drove in the tying run, but was later thrown out trying to steal second. Nonetheless the Pirates answered and we had ourselves a new ballgame.
However, Blinn wasn’t in the JUCO World Series for nothing, as they did some 2 out damage of their own. With a man on first and 2 outs, the Buc cleanup hitter, laced a ball to the right centerfield wall, scoring the baserunner from 1st to put Blinn back on top, 2-1.
Again, the Pirate offense responded, as John Holland, Jared Martin, and Trevor Kieboom delivered back to back one out singles. Unforturnately, Kieboom’s single was a back hand stop by the shortstop who then made a back side throw to third to catch Holland off of the bag after a wide turn to secure the second out of the inning. With a big inning looming, the Pirates were then faced with another 2 out situation. Mr. Clutch, Cam Sperry, delivered again with the 4th straight basehit of the inning, scoring Martin to pull the Pirates back even at 2 apiece.
At that point, it became lock down pitching on both ends, as Dylan Lee sat down the next 8 batters in order, striking out 3, and inducing 5 ground balls. With one out in the 6th, is when things began to unravel for CVCC. After a one out walk and hit by pitch, Lee got another ground ball out to put runners on second and third with 2 out in a tie game. Lee got his ground ball, but unfortunately was not fielded cleanly, allowing 2 more unearned runs to score. After punching out the final out of the inning, Lee escaped further damage, keeping the score a 2 run game at 4-2.
The Pirate offense threatened in both the 6th and 7th and had opportunities to score and get back in the game, when Grayson Ivey and Tyler Lynn reached with one out in the 6th. However, the Buc pitcher punched out the final 2 hitters of the hitting to stymie the threat.
The best opportunity came in the 7th, when Ronpirin and Holland both led of the inning with base hits, but a failed bunt attempt ended the rally quickly, as the Pirates went quietly with their final 2 outs of the inning.
In a 4-2 game and the Pirates still within striking distance, several Pirate miscues opened the floodgates for Blinn that led to a 6 run inning. Trevor Guthrie and Payne Kosobucki finally put the fire out, but not before the Bucs batted around and put the game out of reach at 10-2. The Pirates went quietly in the bottom half of the eighth, ending the game in with the 8 run rule.
The loss dropped the Pirates into the losers’ bracket of the World Series and face Spartanburg Methodist in an elimination game the following day. The top ranked Pirates fell to 48-10 on the year.