It was only a matter of time. No team at any level can win their respective championship every year. Not even the University of Alabama football. After a late inning, heart breaking loss to Faulkner State, the Pirates saw themselves in a win or go home scenario against the Buccaneers of Shelton State.
Sophomore lefty, Pierce Smith, went to the mound to keep the Pirate season alive and after shutting down Shelton in order in the first, things were looking great for CVCC, as Tre Kirklin led the bottom of the first off with a double, while Johnny Devine reached on an error. Jon Foster loaded the bases with a 1 out walk to potentially put the game away early. However, a passed ball run and sac fly by AJ Willoughby limited the damage to only 2 runs.
A 2 error inning in the 2nd cost Smith 3 runs and the lead, as Shelton rallied on poor Pirate defense.
Down 3-2, the Pirates got the first 2 runners on the 2nd, but a failed bunt attempt and a double play snuffed out the potential big inning very quickly and the Pirate offense went dormant for 4 innings.
A Buc 2 run homer in the 3rd extended the Shelton lead to 5-2, while a lead off walk came back to haunt the Pirates in the 4th, as Shelton added a 6th run. Down 6-2, the Pirate offense simply could not get going, or at least, string anything together, but managed to keep the game within striking distance, as Shelton threatened to put the game away in the 5th. Carson Hicks relieved Pierce Smith and escaped a bases loaded jam with a punchout and a double play.
Unfortunately, the momentum did not propel the Pirates, as Shelton responded with a grand slam in the 6th, that for all practical purposes, ended CVCC’s season, as they trailed 10-2 with the mercy rule looming.
As has been the case all year, Chatt Valley continued to fight, as Isaac Phillips drove in Foster to make it a 10-3 game in the 6th, while Foster added a run of his own with a sac fly in the 7th, to close the gap to 10-4.
But it was simply not the Pirates year, as Shelton added 2 more runs to end the game in the 8th on the 8 run mercy rule to end the Pirates season.
Make no mistake, though, despite not clinching an unprecedented 3rd consecutive World Series berth, it was certainly a season to remember, as the Pirates led the league in nearly every single statistical category in hitting, pitching and defense and posted the leagues best overall and conference record, as they finished 47-12 on the season.
Although all good things come to an end at some point, the opposite is true of the Phoenix that rose from the ashes, and 2018 looks to be another banner year for Chatt Valley as they make another run to Grand Junction.