The Pirates got a very fortunate break in their seeding of the blind draw of the JUCO World Series Bracket. With an opening day bye, and a day off with an opening win, the Pirates had the shortest path to a World Series Championship. However, the path was also the toughest, in terms of competition, as the Pirates would run the gauntlet over the course of a week, that began with arguably the top offensive team in the country, in Yavapai College.
Like the Pirates, the Roughrider offense ranked among the country’s elite in nearly every single offensive category, including leading the country in homeruns with 111, with 6 of their starters carrying double digit homeruns into Colorado.
With Chatt Valley as the home team, the Pirates sent Jordan Lee to the mound in the Series opener. The Roughriders ran roughshod in the top of the first inning of CVCC, as they sent 9 men to the plate en route to a 5 run inning. The big blow came after an infield error that would have ended the inning on a bases clearing triple by the 8th place hitter.
With resolve and no panic, the Pirates kept their cool, with the chip away and hold ’em mentality. The offense did nothing in the 1st, but JLee shut YC down 1-2-3 in the second to give the Pirates a bit of a breather.
The offense immediately came to life, as Jake Maziar hammered a double start things. He scored on Ryan Hagan’s RBI single. After Hagan stole second with 2 outs, Grayson Ivey reached on an error to score Hagan, who later scored on an errant throw by the Yavapai catcher. When the inning ended, the Pirates had cut the lead to 5-3 and were immediately back in the game.
However, that was short lived, as in the third, Lee walked the lead off hitter before punching out the next two hitters. With one, two out and two strikes, the Roughrider DH hit a hanging slider out of the park to push the lead up to 4 runs at 7-3.
Again, the Pirate offense kept coming, as Tyler Lynn served a one out single to left field, followed by a Maziar walk. Ryan Hagan, once again, delivered with an RBI single to scratch within 3 runs at 7-4.
YC put their final run on the board in the 4th, when 2 consecutive walks to start the inning led to the 8th run of the game for Riders on an eventual 6-4-3 double play. Up 8-4, the book was closed on Jordan Lee with Chase Burks coming in for relief.
After surviving Yavapai’s initial rush, and taking their best punches, Chatt Valley staggered to their feet and stabilized the game for the middle innings with good defense and superb pitching.
Chase Burks entered the 5th and sent YC back to the field going 6 up and 6 down, with some help from catcher, Jake Maziar, who threw out a runner attempting to steal second base.
With Big Mo slowly creeping over to the CV dugout, it looked like the 5th inning would be the breakthrough, after the Pirates loaded the bases with 2 outs on 3 consecutive walks. However, the Pirates came away with nothing in the 5th.
Grayson Ivey led off the 6th with a smashing double to get things going. He advanced to 3rd on Hunter Webb’s flyout to right field and scored on Nolan Greckel’s RBI groundout to chip into the 4 run deficit to make it 8-5 heading into the 7th.
The 7th became THE inning for CVCC. In what looked like disaster turned into a thing of beautiful ugly, as Burks surrendered a leadoff double and a hit by pitch get things going. However, a heads up play by Kenny Ford at shortstop got CV the first out on a 1-6 pickoff play at second. After a pop up to centerfield for the second out, Burks gave up a single to put runners at the corners with 2 down. On a dirt ball that slightly got away from Maziar, he quickly pounced on the ball and flipped to Burks to catch the stealing runner from third to end the inning and pump exuberant life into the Pirate dugout.
The offense immediately responded, as Tyler Lynn led off the inning with a screaming line drive homerun over the right field wall. Down 8-6, Maziar walked to bring the tying run to the plate. A single by Hagan and a walk to Brandon Whiteford loaded the bases for Will Campbell with none out. With the Pirates taking a strike, Willie C inadvertently swung through a take sign and hammered the game tying double over the centerfielder’s head. After a Grayson Ivey punch out, Hunter Webb delivered what proved to be the game winning run with a sac fly to centerfield.
The Pirates came all the way back, going ahead 9-8 heading into the 8th. Burks absolutely took over, as he struck out the side with emphasis and emotion to put YC on the defensive.
With nothing doing in the 8th for CVCC, Burks went back out to retire the final three outs with the top of the lineup coming up for the Riders. Willie Calhoun, the nation’s homerun leader with 31, nearly missed tying the game by mere inches on a towering smash that was just foul. After an epic at bat, Calhoun drew a leadoff walk bringing the go ahead run to the plate for YC. With 4 consecutive left handed hitters due up for the Riders, the Pirates turned to lefty Christian Vann to close things out.
Vann induced a pop up to center on a phenomenal play by Hunter Webb leaping into the wall for the first out of the 9th. After a pop up to Timmy Kennedy in left for the second out. With one out away from advancing, the YC cleanup hitter smashed a line drive down the first base line that was snagged by Grayson Ivey to end the threat and the game and send the Pirate crew into bedlam with the 9-8 win.
The win gave the Pirates Monday off and sent them to an advancement in the winners bracket against Northwest Florida State on Tuesday evening. The comeback win ran the Pirate record to 42-15 on the season.