After Saturday evening’s emotional walk ’em down win against Yavapai College, the Pirates faced a familiar foe, Northwest Florida State College, who are separated by only 211 road miles. A close and well pitched game on both ends got away from the Pirates late, as the Raiders scored 4 runs with 2 outs and 3 more via bases loaded free passes, en route to a 10-1 win for the eventual National Champions.
Late season stud, Logan “Johnny JUCO” Haner earned the Game 2 start after his masterful performance in the Region 22 tournament shutout win against Faulkner State. Haner looked prime for a repeat after a 1-2-3 1st inning. However, there wasn’t much doing for the Pirate offense all night, as both teams traded 6 outs apiece to start the game.
The 3rd inning began the trouble for CV, as Haner gave up a harmless 1 out double, but then punched the next hitter out for out 2. Unfortunately, a 2 out error that would have ended the inning and kept things scoreless, put the Raiders on top 2-0 with an RBI double following the error.
Haner settled back in and retired the side with minimal damage, recording the next 6 outs in a row to what appeared to be an easy 5th inning. With 2 out and nobody on, the Raiders go double, single, single to extend their lead to 4-0.
At this point of the game, the Pirates have been 1 hit, a 4th inning double by Kenny Ford. With the exception of Ford’s double, Raider starter, Will Luft, had been perfect through 5 1/3 innings.
With Haner doing his part, allowing only 5 hits of his own, and keeping the game tight, NWFS broke through in the 6th, as they finally touched up the Pirates for 3 runs that weren’t given to them, as a hit by pitch, a 2 run homer, a double, single, and sac fly, safely put the game out of reach for Chatt Valley at 7-0.
The Pirates struggled all night against Luft, but snagged 2 more knocks in the 6th, as JT Thomas and Hunter Webb singled, but CV came away with no runs. However, they finally broke through in the 7th on Ryan Hagan’s solo homer, to cut the lead to 7-1.
Unfortunately, the wheels officially fell off in the 8th, as it took 3 pitchers to get 3 outs, as NWFS had 3 hits, 3 free passes, and scored 3 runs to push the lead to 10-1. Although Grayson Ivey and Hunter Webb both singled in the bottom of the 8th, the Pirates were not able to extend the game with any runs and fell via the mercy rule 10-1.
The loss dropped the Pirates in the loser’s bracket and their record fell to 42-16 on the year. The Pirates reward for the loss – national powerhouse and number one ranked Iowa Western, who had won 2 of the past 3 national championships.