After winning the 2014 ACCC title and making their first trip to Grand Junction, Colorado for the NJCAA JUCO World Series, and holding the NJCAA # 1 ranking for two months and being nationally ranked all season, the Pirates are poised to make another run at the ACCC Title. The key for the, once again, nationally ranked Pirates (# 6 Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, # 18 Perfect Game, and # 20 NJCAA) this year is the continued focus on the process of becoming a champion, looking past the high expectations that come with the success the program has achieved, as well as breaking in an entirely new pitching staff. With continued hard work, dedication, and the “Dirty Pirate” mentality, the 2015 season hopes to be something special for the Chattahoochee Valley Pirates.
There has always been one constant on an Adam Thomas coached baseball team – STRONG PITCHING. The Pirates will be led by virtually, an all-freshman pitching staff, with only a handful of veterans returning to the 2015 arms unit. The Pirate armory will be led by sophomore, Trevor Guthrie, who was one of the top relievers on the Pirates JUCO World Series team in 2014. Guthrie was second on the team in appearances as a reliever, gathering a win and 2 saves, while punching out 30 hitters against only 10 walks in 21.2 innings.
The 2-6 spots, in no particular order, will fall into the hands of a plethora of freshmen in flame throwing Landon Faulkner, big lefty Christian Vann, righties, Chase Burks, Nik Verbeke, and transfer sophomore, Austin Thomas.
Expect the majority of the relief pitching to fall on the shoulders on a mix of true freshmen, sophomores and a couple of transfers. Right handers Jordan Lee, Bryce Conley, Tyler Welch, Drew Dunagan, Jon Kizzar, and Logan Haner, with lefties Jacob Ozley and Brandon Sattenfield having all proved this fall to be more than capable of holding leads for the Pirate starters to bridge the gap to the back end relievers.
The late relief/closing duties will be on the shoulders of Austin Thomas, along with Pirate shortstop, Ryan Hagan, and sophomore Will Tillery.
Around the infield diamond, there will be several familiar names back in the Pirate lineup. Anchoring the group will be four returnees from the 2014 club in catcher, Jake Maziar, (.325, 4 2B, 3 HR, 25 RBI), 1B/3B Grayson Ivey (.324, 8 2B, 2 HR, 30 RBI), UTY Drew Lingo (.375, 4 2B, 11 RBI), and slick fielding SS/2B Kenny Ford (.333, 32 R, 17 SB).
Freshman catcher JT Thomas, will share time with Maziar behind the dish, while Presbyterian transfer, Ryan Hagan will take care of 3B and/or SS, with University of North Carolina transfer, Brandon Whiteford, manning both second and third. Additionally, Mississippi State transfer, Big Trent Simpson, will add some serious right handed power to the lineup as a 1B/DH, while redshirt freshman, Frank Wager, will bring the thunder from the left side at the catching position, as well as DH. And of course, super utility man, Drew Lingo, will literally play every position on the field for the Pirates, while freshman Tanner Davis, will see action at second base.
The outfield returns only one familiar face in 2015, in Tyler Lynn (.363, 11 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 29 SB), who will anchor down the right field position. With plenty of speed to burn, University of Alabama transfer, Hunter Webb will roam centerfield for the Pirates. Left field should see a handful of faces that will include, freshmen, Nolan Greckel, Tim Kennedy, Will Campbell, and Evan Troutt. Additionally, sophomore Drew Dunagan had a phenomenal fall and will play all 3 outfield positions for CVCC.
The Pirates will open the season tomorrow, January 30th at home against East Georgia College for a 2:00 first pitch. The two clubs will face off on Saturday the 31st in a 1:00 double header.