With a high ranking, high expectations, and high goals, the 2016 season didn’t exactly start off the way the Pirates were hoping. In Gulf Coast State College’s First Pitch Classic, the Pirates faced both the host school and Tallahassee Community College twice each over the weekend and came up snake eyes, as Chatt Valley dropped four straight to open the ’16 campaign.
Game 1 featured the Pirates against TCC, as Chase Adkins took the opening day start for CVCC. Things began rather optimistic for the Pirates, as 3 free passes in a row to start the top of the first had the good guys in position to blow the game open early. With the bases full and none out, Will Campbell delivered a 2 run single to give CV a 2-0 lead. However, that is all the Pirates would manage and it came back to haunt them.
Adkins was solid in his first start as a Pirate. On a limited pitch and inning count, Chase tossed 3 2/3 innings, surrendering 4 runs, only 1 earned, on 6 hits, while striking out 6 batters and walking none.
With the Pirates in a 4-2 hole heading into the 5th, due to poor defense, the offense quickly responded to tie the game at 4 apiece on 2 Eagle errors. The lead was short-lived, as a solo homer in the bottom of the 6th put TCC on top again.
However, in the top of the 7th, with none on and down to their last out, Jaylen Smith launched a game tying homer to keep the Pirates alive.
Unfortunately, TCC delivered in the bottom half with a walk off, 1 out, 3 run homer to dash any hopes of a Pirate comeback, in an 8-5 loss.
Friday’s nightcap, sent sophomore Jordan Lee to the mound against the host team, Gulf Coast State. Lee was stellar in his 4 2/3 innings of work, allowing only 4 hits, while striking out 5.
With little offense on either end, the unfortunate part of JLee’s night was that all 4 hits came in the 3rd inning, as GCS took a 3-0 lead and then a 4-0 lead in the 4th on, a pair of Pirate errors. The Commodores would not tally another hit the rest of the night, as Brandon Sattenfield stymied the ‘Dore offense with 3 K’s while facing 4 batters.
While the GC offense didn’t do much, the Pirates didn’t fare much better, as a Will Campbell double was the only hit of the evening heading into the 5th. The Pirates had their opportunity in that frame, as they left the bases loaded and came away empty.
Again, Chatt Valley had their opportunities, as they had 2 0n with one out in the 6th, but back to back punchouts ended any scoring threat. The shutout, however, was broken up in the 7th, as Brandon Hill recorded his first collegiate hit on a mammoth solo homer deep into the Gulf Coast night to bring the final tally to 4-1.
Saturday saw an early morning rematch with GCS, with lefty, Garret Deloney, toeing the rubber for the Pirates. In 4-plus innings of work, the Pirates found themselves in a 4-1 hole, before the Commodores put 3 more on the board in the 5th to safely put the game away at 7-1.
Jayson Cook had a run scoring single in the 5th to plate AJ Willoughby who had doubled earlier in the inning.
The Pirate offense showed some life in the 6th, with a Will Campbell 2 run homer to close the deficit to 4 runs, but with the ‘Dores adding one more, the Pirates’ door was closed with an 8-3 loss.
Trying to salvage a win on the weekend, Logan Haner gave the Pirates a quality effort against Tallahassee, tossing 3 2/3 shutout innings to start the game. With 2 out and none on in the 4th, the Eagles scratched for a single, before striking for a 2-0 lead on a 2 strike, 2 run homer.
Meanwhile, the Pirate offense had no answer for TCC as they were no hit through 6 innings, as the Eagles added to their lead on 2 out basehits, that began with no one on base.
Down 5-0 and on the verge of being on the wrong end of a no hitter, pinch hitter Tim Kennedy, got the Pirates on the H column of the scoreboard with a single to centerfield, while Campbell followed suit 2 batters later. After a hit by pitch, the Pirates had a faint heartbeat with the bases loaded and 2 out, before Carson Hughes flew out harmlessly to end the threat in a 5-0 loss.
The 0-4 Pirates will host Point University on Thursday, February 4th for a 1:00 pm double header. However, with severe weather in the area on Wednesday, stay tuned for postponements and/or game changes.