Since the fall of 2009, Chattahoochee Valley and Columbus State University have matched up in an annual cross town battle of friendly foes, with an even .500 record shared between the two foes. Two more quality games on Thursday afternoon kept that record at .500, as the Pirates took game one, 3-2, while CSU took game 2, 4-3 in two very well pitched and played baseball games.
For the first time ever in the series, the showdown took place on the campus of CVCC at “The Lake” due to construction at CSU. Coach Thomas sent Pirate ace, Chase Adkins to the mound in game one, and he absolutely shined, pounding 90-94 mph fastballs past the Cougars for 4+ innings of work. Adkins finished with 5 hits, 1 walk, 4 K’s and 2 runs (one earned) to his line of work.
After a scoreless first, the Cougs jumped on top scoring an unearned run in the second to take the early 1-0 lead. The Pirate offense immediately responded, as JT Thomas’s one out single, followed by Caleb Lynn’s hit by pitch, set up the first Pirate run on Trent Simpson’s fielder’s choice.
Tied at 1 apiece, CSU scratched for another run in the 4th, as they loaded the bases with none out. What looked like the inning for the Cougars to explode, quickly became the ultimate damage control, as Adkins induced an infield groundout, a strikeout, and another groundout to keep the damage at only 1 run.
Down 2-1, Garrett Deloney relieved Adkins in the 5th, and did his job against back to back lefties to give way to Logan Haner who finished off the combined shutout inning to keep the deficit to one run.
Haner continued to deal in the 6th and 7th to put the Pirates in position to make a late run. And make a late run they did. With one out in the 7th, Carson Hughes laced a liner to left to get things going. JT Thomas followed with a sharp single in the 6 hole, while Caleb Lynn walked to load the bases with one out. Trent Simpson delivered with a liner to centerfield to score pinch runner, Grey Norton, but the ball was hit too hard to score pinch runner, MJ Rookard from second. With the bases still loaded with only one out, Tim Kennedy hit the first pitch he saw for the game winning base hit to right field for the walk off 3-2 win against NCAA powerhouse, CSU.
Game 2 proved to be another nail biting, pitchers’ battle, as Chase Burks took the mound for CVCC. Quite simply, Burks was not his normal dominant self, but still battled through four solid innings of baseball, surrendering 3 runs (2 earned) on 4 hits with 2 strikeouts.
After the Cougs jumped on the board in the second inning on an unearned run to take a 1-0 lead, Chatt Valley came right back in the third to tied it on Kurt Ornowski’s RBI single, but missed a golden opportunity to open up the flood gates, leaving the bases loaded.
CSU touched up Burksy again in the 4th, stringing together a trio of hits after a leadoff walk to regain the lead at 3-1. Again, right back at ’em, CVCC pulled within 1, as Caleb Lynn launched a mammoth bomb into the right field parking lot to start the 4th, and make it a one run ballgame, once again.
Jordan Lee relieved Burks in the 5th and was absolutely electric. The only blemish came on a swinging bunt that turned into a little league homerun on a comedy of errors.
After the Pirates missed a perfect opportunity to tie the game in the 5th, the stormed back in the 7th with some two out magic. With none on and 2 out, Jaylen Smith singled to get things going, as Jayson Cook followed suit, one more hit by MJ Rookard put the Pirates within one run at 4-3 with the tying run and winning runs on base. Unfortunately, the Cougars recorded the final out to salvage the series split, in a 4-3 win.
The Pirates are officially complete with their fall season and will begin the annual Black and Blue series next week, with game 1 starting at 4:00 on Monday.