In a tournament that has not been so kind to the Pirates in recent years, Chattahoochee Valley took to Panama City Beach, Florida for the Kevin Miller Classic on the Campus of Gulf Coast State College and walked away with three wins, as they took down St. John’s River, Andrew College and the host team Commodores of Gulf Coast.
In game 1 of an always good match up, the Pirates faced Florida Powerhouse, St. John’s River with lefty, Pierce Smith getting the start. The Vikings jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, as a bases loaded pickoff attempt went awry, led to an unearned run and early deficit.
The offense responded immediately with back to back one out singles by Isaac Phillips and AJ Willoughby and an RBI groundout by Carson Hughes to knot the game at 1 apiece. The Pirate offense continued to roll, adding 1 more in the 2nd on Jaylen Smith’s single and 2 more in the 3rd on a double by Jon Jon Foster and an RBI single by Brandon Hill to extend the lead to 4-1.
Smith was solid for 4 2/3 innings, scattering 5 hits and allowing only 3 runs, before giving way to Sawyer Steele in relief.
Clinging to a 4-3 lead, the Pirates answered right back on Tre Kirklin’s solo homer in the 4th and added an insurance run on Willoughby’s RBI groundout in the 6th.
From there it was a dominant Pirate bullpen effort by Steele, JD Brown and closer Tyler Elkins who went 1-2-3 in the 9th to secure the 6-3 win.
Game 2 saw familiar foe Andrew College square up against the Pirates. Freshman Charles Crosby got his first start in a Pirate uniform and was brilliant for 5 complete innings, surrendering 1 run on 4 hits and striking out 4 Tigers.
After 2 scoreless frames, the Pirates jumped on top 1-0 on an Isaac Phillips sac fly and then opened up the floodgates in the 4th, 5th and 6th to plate 8 runs.
Back to back RBI doubles by Jon Jon Foster and Johnny Devine keyed the 4 run 4th, with Carson Hughes RBI single leading the 2 run 5th, while a leadoff triple by MJ Rookard and a pinch hit RBI singles by Caleb Lynn and Jack Copley gave the Pirates a 9-1 lead.
Andrew responded with a run in the 6th to cut the lead to 9-2, while a plethora of Pirate pitchers closed the game out from the 6th inning forward as Carson Hicks, Garrett Fowler, Stewart Tyler and Hayden Siniard saw their first action of 2017.
After the Tigers plated 2 more runs late, CVCC added 2 more of their own, led by another RBI single by Lynn to complete the scoring and the win with an 11-4 final.
Game 3 was a matchup with always tough Gulf Coast. With Chandler Newman making his second start of the season, he pitched through flu symptoms before having to be taken out in the 3rd, after surrendering 3 unearned runs.
The Pirates scored early and often in their 16 hit attack as the popped for 1 in the 1st and 5 in the 2nd, as Fuzzy Furr led things off for his first career CVCC hit. After an error, the Pirates strung together 4 consecutive hits by Jaylen Smith, Jayson Cook, Isaac Phillips and Tre Kirklin to anchor the scoring and give reliever Parker Boyle a 6-3 lead.
Solid relief effort by Boyle gave way to lefty Cole Ganopulos who was spectacular in his appearance, striking out 3 in a 2 inning stint.
After the Commodores closed within 6-5, CV’s offense responded with a 3 run 6th as Kirklin added his 3rd of 4 hits with a 2 run single, while Carson Hughes continued his hot hitting with another RBI single.
In a 9-6 game, Casey Cobb was dynamite against his former team, tossing 2 1/3 shutout innings, collecting 2 punchouts along the way.
After Chatt Valley added an insurance run on another Phillips single, Tyler Elkins made quick work of GC with another 1-2-3, 2 strikeout 9th inning to secure the 10-6 win and the weekend sweep.
The 5-1 Pirates will next play host to Central Alabama on Thursday, February 9th with a 2:00 pm eastern first pitch.