By Ronald Frazier
It has been a frustrating season for the Chattahoochee Valley Community College (CVCC) Lady Pirates (16-36, 7-21). They lost their top starting pitcher early in the season due to health issues. They have dealt with numerous injuries throughout the season and were in a position to where they weren’t a lock to get a berth into this weekend’s ACCC tournament. They needed a win on April 19 in the worst way and they succeeded.
“Considering the hand we were dealt, I think getting into the tournament is a big win for us. They are playing pretty good now and I think we can make a decent run this weekend,” said CVCC Head Coach Steve O’Steen.
CVCC defeated Coastal Alabama-Bay Minette 8-6 at home last Thursday to punch their ticket to Alabaster, Ala. this weekend. They scored five runs in the bottom of the third to take a 5-1 lead. Coastal Alabama added two runs in the fourth and fifth inning to tie the game at five. The Lady Pirates responded with a three-run bottom of the fifth.
Third baseman Madison Whipkey homered twice and drove in five runs for the Lady Pirates. Sydney Daugherty, Taylor Hamblin and Allison Moore each had two hits and drove in a run. Smiths Station’s Savannah Bussey allowed three runs over seven innings and picked up the win. O’Steen admits he will lean on Bussey heavily in the state tournament.
“Bussey has had to step into a major role for us because of all the injuries to our pitchers. She has made improvements as the season has gone on. We will start her and see how far she takes us,” O’Steen added.
In her last four outings, CVCC has won three of those games. She has posted a 4.45 ERA, which is well below her six plus ERA for the season and has recorded a 1.32 WHIP, which is also below her season rate.
CVCC swept Lagrange College at home on April 20 (7-6, 15-2). Haley White picked up the win in game one. She pitched seven complete innings and allowed four earned runs on seven hits. Whipkey drew two walks and hit a solo home run in the win. Jordyn Gurley was 2-for-3 with two RBI.
Bussey contributed on the mound at the plate in game two against the Lady Panthers. She pitched four innings and allowed one earned run on three hits and struck out three. She also hit a three-run home run. Gurley homered again and drove in four runs. She was 2-for-3. Daugherty was a perfect 3-for-3 with a double and drove in a pair.
Offensively, CVCC will rely on Madelynn Formby, Whipkey and Daugherty to lead this defense in the ACCC tournament. They are hitting .403, .349 and .355 respectively. Formby leads the team with 26 RBI. Whipkey and Daugherty are right behind her with 24 and 23 respectively. Formby leads the team with nine home runs and Daugherty leads the Lady Pirates with 13 doubles.
CVCC will open the tournament as the No. 6 seed in the South division. They will play the No. 3 team from the North division, Snead State, at 11 a.m. ET at Veterans Park in Alabaster tomorrow. The double elimination tournament concludes on Sunday.