Another Week of Steady Improvement as Pirates Sweep Series at Andrew, ‘Bama State

As August chaos slowly turns into October order, the Pirates continued their steady improvement this fall, replacing 6 offensive starters while breaking in a plethora of new faces on the pitching staff.  After a very good showing at the Central Alabama JUCO tourney, CVCC turned their sites to a road series at Andrew College and to Calhoun and Southern Union at the ABCA Fall Classic at Alabama State University.

On Tuesday, the Pirates traveled to Cuthbert, GA to face familiar foe, Andrew College in their annual fall double header.  With mother nature interrupting the passed 2 years, other than a meeting in Panama City, Florida last spring, the Tigers and Pirates have not seen each other in nearly 36 months.

Game 1 saw Logan “Johnny JUCO” Haner pick up where he left off last post-season, tossing 3 beautiful innings in the start, allowing a single run (unearned) in the 3rd, on 3 hits, 1 walk, while punching out 3 Tigers.

Down 1-0, the Pirates got things going in the 4th, tying the score, when Brandon “Trill” Hill scored when Trent Simpson reached on an error.  From that point, it was shut down city for the Pirates.

Garrett Deloney threw 2 shutout, no hit innings, while Hill tossed a clean 6th of his own, with some help from JT Thomas, who threw out 2 attempting base stealers of Andrew.

In a 1-1 game, Chatt Valley busted it open in the 5th and 6th with 2 runs apiece in each inning.  Jayson Cook and Nolan Greckel had back to back RBI singles in the 5th to go up 3-1, while Thomas delivered an RBI groundout and Kurt Ornowski finished the scoring off with an RBI single to push the lead to 5-1.

Cody Harrison came in to close things out and threw a scoreless 7th, but not without a little drama, as Andrew drew 2 walks in the inning, before Harrison a harmless a groundout to 3rd to end the threat.

Game 2 was much of the same, as pitching dominated, with an early offensive explosion for the Pirates.  Jacob Ozley got the game 2 start was magnificent in his 2 innings of work, facing the 6 batter minimum, allowing only a one out double, but was quickly erased with a pickoff.

Meanwhile, the Pirates got going early, scoring one in the first on AJ Willoughby’s RBI double.  Up 1-0, CVCC went right back at ’em in the 2nd, putting up a 4 spot, keyed by Tanner Davis’s RBI sac bunt, and 3 consecutive RBI singles by MJ Rookard, Timmy “Barrels” Kennedy, and Jayson Cook.

Up comfortably by a score of 5-1, the pitching staff, used the one pitcher an inning method the rest of the way, as Trent Simpson continued his dominant experiment going, retiring the Tigers 1-2-3, while Brandon Sattenfield saw his first game action since Tommy John surgery, and went 3 up, 3 down himself, striking out 3 Tigers.

The CV offense went back to work in the 5th, adding 2 more runs on a double by Caleb Lynn and an RBI groundout/error by Kyle Jenkins.

JD Brown entered in the 5th and allowed a run on no hits, but a leadoff walk came back to haunt him, as Andrew closed the score to 7-2.

The offense responded with 2 more runs of their own, as Grey Norton led off with a double, Nick Poskey and Brent Vallor both walked.  After Norton scored on a double steal, Rook added his second RBI of the day on a ground ball to shortstop to put CV up 9-2.

Cole Baggett tossed a dominant 6th, striking out the first 2 Tigers, but an error came back to haunt him, as he allowed a two out single to the 9 hitter to allow Andrew back on the board at 9-3.

Rookard made his first mound appearance of the fall in live competition, and with the exception of back to back walks to start the inning, which eventually led to another run, he was very solid in his first outing in closing things out for a 9-4 win for CVCC.

On Friday, the Pirates traveled to Alabama State University for the annual Alabama Baseball Coaches Association Fall Classic.  In the opener, CVCC faced Calhoun Community College with Chase Adkins getting the start.  Domination is an understatement on how good Adkins was, as he tossed 3 perfect innings with 4 punchouts, zero 3 ball counts, and got has high as 92 mph with his fastball.

With Calhoun’s ace dealing, as well, the Pirates were able to scratch a run across in the 2nd on a one out single and stolen base by Brandon Hill, with Caleb Lynn delivering a 2 out RBI hit to put the Pirates up 1-0.

Pirate ace, Chase Burks, came in relief in the 4th and tossed 3 beautiful innings of his own, allowing only a single run in the 6th, allowing only 3 hits, a walk, while adding to his strikeout total with 4 punchies of his own.

In the Pirate half of the fourth, the good guys took the lead for good, as Willie Campbell led off with a double down the left field line and scored on Trill Hill’s F-16 fighter jet-like homerun over the left field wall to push the Pirates to a 3-1 lead.

With Burksy dealing, the offense added insurance in the bottom half of the 6th, on back to back to back to back base hits by Greckel, Jaylen Smith, Campbell, and the big blow being Carson Hughes 2 run double to extend the lead to 5-1.

With a comfortable lead, Cody Harrison struggled, but finally put the Warhawks away in the 7th, but not after a bases clearing double brought Calhoun within a run to make it 5-4.  In a meaningless bottom half after the game was won, the Pirates added 2 more runs on Kyle Jenkins’ lead off double, Tim Kennedy’s single, and a sac fly by MJ Rookard to push the “extra” final to 7-4.

Game 2 saw old nemesis, Southern Union take the field against the Pirates, with Jordan Lee getting the start.  After walking the leadoff hitter, the Bison took advantage with the old get him on, get him over, and get him in, without the benefit of a hit to take a temporary 1-0 lead.

Lee settled in and dominated the remaining of his 3 innings to allow the offense to catch fire.  In a 1-0 deficit in the top of the 4th, Will Campbell launched a ball into orbit for a monstrous homer to tie the game.  On the very next pitch, Carson Hughes was cleared for take off, as well, as he went back to back with Campbell to give CV the lead for good.  Trill Hill singled and stole second and later scored on Kyle Jenkins RBI single to push the lead to 3-1.

Christian “Sauce” Vann took over for the next 3 innings and was nothing short of dominant, allowing only no runs, on only 2 hits and a pair of strikeouts to keep the Bison off of the board.

The Pirate offense methodically added to their lead with a run in the 5th on Jayson Cook’s 2 out, RBI single, as well as putting 2 more on the board in the 7th with a run scoring single by AJ Willoughby and a pinch hit RBI double by Tanner Davis to extend the margin to 6-1.

Again, final inning issues plagued the Pirates, as closer, Gavin Crouch struggled to shut the game down, surrendering 3 runs on 4 hits and a walk, as SUCC closed the gap to 6-4 before the rally was stymied on a pop up to right field to end the game.

The Pirates will go back to intra-squad next week before hosting Gordon College at CVCC for a 1:00 pm eastern double header on Thursday, October 1st.