The 2017 baseball regular season has ended, seemingly as quickly as it has begun, and for the second year in a row and for 3 of the past 4 years, the Pirates are the Division Champions of the ACCC’s Southern Division. With a sweep of Faulkner State, the Pirates finished with a program record 46 wins in a regular season, while leading the ACCC in nearly every single statistical category. The Pirates will head into this weekend’s region tournament as the # 1 seed from the South.
Game 1 was another classic pitching matchup, with Pirate Ace and Southern Division Pitcher of the Year, Casey Cobb, staring down his 3rd 1-0 game of the season and 2nd in 2 weeks. However, this time, Cobb came out on the right side of the decision.
This game was real simple, it was all Casey Cobb, all day. The freshman sensation scattered 7 hits and made 3 unbelievable defensive plays on attempted bunts by the Chiefs to stymie any scoring threats.
Offensively, the Pirates got the only run they needed, when Johnny Devine smashed what appeared to be a sure double down the 3rd base line. However, the FSCC third baseman made a web gem play to snag the hot shot, but a short hop thrown to 1st allowed MJ Rookard to score on the mishandled ball.
Things got interesting in the bottom of the 7th when Cobb allowed a single and a walk to start the inning. After a punchout, Cobb hit a batter to load the bases, but promptly struck out another Chief and with the bases loaded and 2 out, induced a harmless groundball to 3rd to end the game.
Game 2 was a big inning by the Pirates and hold on for dear life. Cole Ganopulos ran his record to 6-0 and was, once again, solid in his effort, tossing 5 1/3 innings.
The offense jumped on top early with a solo homer by Jack Copley, but the Chiefs tied the game at 1 apiece in the bottom half of the 2nd. It appeared the Pirates put the game away for good in the 3rd inning, putting a 6 spot on the board, as Tre Kirklin got things going with a solo shot of his own. Jaylen Smith followed him up with a double, and Copley, Carson Hughes, Jayson Cook and John Devine all joined in with run scoring basehits to put CV up 7-1.
But as any Wayne Larker coached team, the Sun Chiefs kept coming, scoring 3 runs in the 3rd to cut the lead to 7-4. After adding another run to close within 7-5 in the 6th, Ganop was lifted in favor of Sawyer Steele who promptly struck out the first batter he faced and then induced a ground ball to end the threat. Steele made things easy in the 7th, going 1-2-3 to earn the save and preserve the 7-5 win and clinch the ACCC Southern Division Championship for the 2017 Pirates.
Game 3 saw the Pirates wear The Ghosts for the final time in the 2017 regular season as they finished the year at Glenwood School, as the Pirates have been without a home field the past month.
What started as a comfortable early lead for CVCC led to a walkoff win, as FS simply would not quit. Starter Chandler Newman tossed his best game of the year, going 6 strong innings, allowing only 4 runs, with only 1 being earned.
The Pirates popped for 1 run in the 2nd on an Isaac Phillips RBI double and added 3 more in the 3rd on another Tre Kirklin homer, while 2 batters later, Jon Jon Foster launched a 2 run shot to give Newman a 4-0 lead.
However, a handful of Chief hits and sloppy defense allowed FSCC to tie the game at 4 in the 4th, but a big bases loaded strikeout by Newman haulted the rally.
Knotted at 4 apiece, Phillips smacked a one out double in the 6th, followed by an RBI triple by Jayson Cook to put the Pirates up 5-4. But once again, poor defense allowed the Chiefs to tie the game on closer, Sawyer Steele in the 7th, but again, a huge bases loaded punchout ended the threat.
No worries for the good guys though, as Jaylen Smith drew a leadoff walk to start the bottom half and Foster was hit by a pitch, a perfect basehit bunt by Carson Hughes was followed by a wild pitch, scoring Smith for the game winning, series clinching, walk off run to give CVCC a 6-5 win
Game 4 was a dominant effort by both the offense and a pitching staff by committee, as Coach Thomas used a pitcher an inning in the 7 inning affair.
Carson Hicks got the start in his old ballpark, and the Glenwood alum tossed a very quick 1-2-3 1st. Alex Graulich finished his career at CVCC on a great note, throwing a zero on the board in the 2nd, with the only blemish being a 2 out walk. Stew Tyler followed and kept the shutout intact, adding a strikeout to his season total, giving the offense the opportunity to break the game open in the 3rd.
Kurt Ornowski drew a one out walk, and Jaylen Smith added to his league leading RBI total with a double to score Ornowski. Carson Hughes followed him up with a lazer beam over the right field wall for a 2 run jimmy jack. Jack Copley hit the very next pitch well into the Phenix City horizon for a back to back job for the Pirates. And Brent Vallor finished things off with a bases loaded walk to give the staff a 5-0 lead.
After Chuck Crosby threw a clean 4th, Smith added his 15th homer of the year, which also leads the ACCC, while Ornowski added an RBI groundout to push the lead to 7-0.
Meanwhile, Tyler Elkins and Pierce Smith kept the shutout rolling, shutting down the Chiefs in the 5th and 6th. Sophomore catcher, Nick Poskey finished off the scoring, delivering an RBI single in the 6th to extend the lead to 8-0.
Garrett Fowler tossed a beautiful 1-2-3 7th to finish off the sweep in the 8-0 win for Chatt Valley.
The Pirates finish the regular season with a program record 46-10 record and went 26-6 in ACCC play. They will enter next weekend’s Region Tournament as the # 1 seed in the Southern Division, which includes a first round bye. Their opponent is yet to be determined. Stay posted as the bracket and schedule will be posted tomorrow.