After a head scratching double header at Gordon State, the Pirates of the Chattahoochee went to work in practice and the results came to fruition in their conference opening series against Enterprise State in a 4 game sweep of the Boll Weevils, but not without having to work for 2 of those wins.
Game 1 was one of those nail biters that saw extra innings having to settle the final score. Pierce Smith got the conference opening start and was solid through 4+ innings, allowing only 2 runs on the day, but the base on balls continued to haunt the Pirates, as both runs were directly related to the free pass.
The Pirates got on the board first with a 2 run second inning, with Fuzzy Furr delivering an RBI double, while Jayson Cook delivered a bunt hit that scored Furr on a throwing error to give Smith and Company a 2-0 lead. Just as it appeared that CVCC would chase the ESCC starter, John Kelsoe settled in to throw 8+ magnificent innings.
After Enterprise tied it up with single runs in the 3rd and 4th, both offenses went into stalemate the rest of the way. Sawyer Steele came on to relieve Smith and was absolutely dominant, tossing 4 2/3 of 2 hit, shutout baseball with no walks and 4 strikeouts to keep Enterprise at bay and give the offense a chance.
That chance came in the bottom of the 9th with 2 outs and none on. Isaac Phillips singled to start things, while Tre Kirklin reached next on an error. ESCC went to the bullpen to try and find the last out to move on to the 10th, however, the Weevil reliever walked AJ Willoughby to load the bases and then walked pinch hitter, John Devine for the walk off walk and a 3-2 Pirate win.
Game 2 began shaky for Chatt Valley, as Parker Boyle made his first conference start for the Pirates, but allowed 2 runs right off the bat to ESCC. However, the offense responded immediately with 7 runs in the 1st, with 8 of the first 9 batters reaching base. Carson Hughes delivered a sac fly, while Jaylen Smith, Jon Jon Foster, John Devine and Brandon Hill all had consecutive run scoring hits to give Boyle a 7-2 lead.
Unfortunately, he was just not sharp, as ESCC answered with 2 more runs to cut the lead to 7-4 and he gave way to lefty Carson Hicks who was outstanding the rest of the way.
The game seesawing back and forth, CVCC added 2 more runs in the 2nd on a Jaylen Smith 2 run homer to extend the lead to a comfortable 9-4. However, a throwing error led to ESCC’s 5th run in the 3rd. At that point, Hicks went into shutdown mode, facing only 2 batters over the minimum from the 4th-7th, keeping ESCC off of the board and ending all scoring for both teams, as he preserved the 9-5 home sweep for the Pirates.
Game 3 finally gave the Pirates a little breathing room in a 14-2 thrashing and series win for the Pirates. Casey Cobb tossed the complete game, 5 inning mercy ruled contest, in which, he allowed only 3 hits, 2 runs, and struck out 6 in a completely dominant effort.
Chatt Valley struck first with a 2 run 2nd inning on RBI singles by Fuzzy Furr and Jayson Cook. Right back at them in the 3rd, CVCC hung a 6 spot on them to go up 8-0 with Brandon Hill and Isaac Phillips driving in 5 runs combined in the inning.
The only threat ESCC posed was a 2 run 3rd, in which they strung 3 hits together, 2 of them with 2 outs to cut the lead to 8-2.
It was short lived as CV answered with another 6 run inning in the 4th, as AJ Willoughby had a bases clearing double to pace the Pirates and give Cobb a 14-2 lead.
Cobb finished things off from there in his complete game effort to give CVCC the series and a chance for the sweep.
The sweep did not come easy from the hard fighting Weevils, despite a brilliant effort from starter Charles Crosby who tossed 7 complete innings, allowing only a single run on 2 hits and collecting 7 punchouts along the way.
Runs came at a premium, as did baserunners for both teams. Chatt Valley struck first against ESCC starter Tyson Holder, who was outstanding in his own right, as they plated a single run in the 4th, as Jaylen Smith led off the inning with a single, was moved to 2nd on Carson Hughes sac bunt, and AJ Willoughby delivered a 2 out single to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead.
However, the lead lasted only an inning, as Enterprise coaxed a lead off walk, and then sac bunted back to back to put a runner at 3rd with 2 out. While everyone was scratching their head, the Weevil baserunner stole home on Crosby to knot the game at 1 apiece. Crosby kept the game right there with his great effort, while JD Brown and Tyler Elkins continued their shutdown pitching to take the game into extra innings once again.
While both teams traded zeroes and lots of drama, Jon Jon Foster promptly led off the 10th inning with the go ahead and eventual game winning solo homer to left field that just stayed inside the foul pole to finally put CVCC ahead, 2-1.
Elkins retired the Weevils 1-2-3 in their half of the 10th to give the Pirates a conference season opening sweep. The 4 wins moved Chatt Valley to 18-5 on the year and 4-0 in conference play.
Monday’s midweek game with Thomas University was rained out and postponed, so the Pirates next contest will see them return to conference action against Wallace State-Selma on Thursday in Selma and Saturday back at The Lake. Both games are 1:00 pm eastern time starts.