Very rarely do you hear a coach say “nice job” when a team drops a conference double header, the series, first place, and the conference title all on the same day. However, in hindsight, the LBW series, and particularly the road half of our series, became the tiny spark that fueled the Pirates’ post-season run.
After a month of rain, rescheduling, and just bad mojo in general, the Pirates headed down to Andalusia after a 3 day layoff to finish the LBW series…without Coach Thomas. In a 17 year career, due to illness, Coach Thomas missed his first game. Ever. For any reason.
Game 1 was a quality pitching duel, as Bryce Conley toed the rubber for the Pirates. The Saints struck first, as the scored 2 runs in the 3rd, after 2 free passes and a critical error cost Conley 2 unearned runs.
However, Conley held the ship steady as the offense clawed back. Nolan Greckel lead off the 4th with a single, followed by Tyler Lynn’s single, while Kenny Ford delivered the first run via the sac fly. In the 5th, CV tied the game at 2, when Grayson Ivey came up with a big 2 out single to score Jake Maziar who led the inning off with a single.
In a 2-2 game in the bottom of the 7th, the wheels fell off for the Pirates, as LB put a 5 spot to take a 7-2 lead. However, the Pirates responded with 3 of their own, with a chance to tie the game, when Ryan Hagan’s and Jake Maziar’s smash to centerfield looked like sure doubles, but were run down for outs.
Down by 2 runs, the Pirates went through 6 pitchers to record the final 5 outs of the game. In the meantime, LBW put 5 more on the board to put the game away in a 12-5 win.
Game 2 was much of the same, as the Saints jumped out to 6-0 lead after 3 innings, as the scored 2 in the first, 1 in the second, and 3 more in the third.
The Pirates a little offensive life in the their half of the third, as Tyler Lynn continued his hot hitting with another run scoring double to cut the lead to 3-1 momentarily. However, after the Saints 3 run third, it became a matter of getting home and regrouping.
The Pirates managed only 4 hits in game 2, however, the silver lining of the day was Logan Haner, as he tossed 3 shutout innings to close things out, and gave Chatt Valley a glimpse of things to come in the ACCC Tournament.
The 6-1 loss handed the Pirates their first and only series loss on the year, as well as their only time being swept. The sweep all but guaranteed LBW the regular season divisional title.
With the final series against Faulkner State looming in only 3 days, the Pirates fell to 34-14 and 20-8 with 4 games to go in the season.