By Chad Dixon
Having two aces in one starting pitching rotation is the dream of any baseball coach and is something Chattahoochee Valley Community College (CVCC) Head Coach Adam Thomas feels that he has. The Pirates lead the Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC) with a 2.33 ERA and 1.11 WHIP and is in large part to RHP Casey Cobb (5-2) and LHP Cole Ganopulos (9-0).
“We have the luxury of having both of those guys in our rotation. Each guy could start game one of a series for any team. They both throw in the high 80s with a power slider,” Thomas said.
Ganopulos and Cobb are ranked one and two in the ACCC in ERA. Ganopulos leads the conference with a 1.27 ERA. He also is tied with teammate Chase Patrick for the conference lead in wins (9) and is third in the ACCC with 74 strikeouts. Cobb’s 1.52 ERA is second in the ACCC and is fourth in the conference with 70 strikeouts.
The Pirates’ pitching staff has allowed the fewest walks in the ACCC (114) and are second in strikeouts (363). CVCC swept Wallace-Selma last Thursday and Saturday in a four-game series. On April 19, the Pirates shutout their opponents in games one and two of the series (2-0, 10-0).
Ganopulos struck out 10 in game one over seven innings at home. He allowed only six hits. CVCC scored a run in the first and fifth innings. Rankin Woley and Davis Schwartz drove in a run each. Woley currently leads the ACCC in batting average (.463), slugging (.774), RBI (74), doubles (21) and extra-base hits (31).
Patrick no-hit Wallace-Selma in game two on route to a 10-0 victory. He struck out seven over five innings. He has 41 strikeouts and is averaging 8.52 K’s per nine innings. CVCC scored five in the second inning to give Patrick more than enough run support. Schwartz was 3-for-4 with four RBI and two doubles. Tre Kirklin hit a solo home run; Jason Rooks and Jack Lipson drove in two runs each.
In game three of the series on Saturday in Selma, Ala., four Pirates homered in a 17-7 victory. Kale Ledford, Rooks, Woley and Schwartz all homered and combined for 10 RBI. Woley was 4-for-5 with two doubles as well. The four hitters were a combined 10-for-18 (.556).Charles Crosby (4-1) picked up the win out of the bullpen. He allowed three earned runs on six hits over 4 1/3rd innings and struck out two.
In the final game of the series on Saturday, former Central Red Devil Evan Baber picked up his fifth consecutive win. He allowed one earned run on three hits over five innings. He struck out four. Thomas looks at Baber as “a big part of CVCC’s future.”
Shortstop Jay Meuse was a perfect 4-for-4 in a 14-1 victory. He tripled twice and drove in three runs. Woley had five RBI and was 2-for-4 with a home run. Isaac Phillips was 2-for-2 with two RBI and a triple.
The Pirates are now 40-9 overall with a 25-3 ACCC record. CVCC has a bye week from conference games this weekend. Their “magic” number to clinch the ACCC South for the fifth consecutive year is two. If Wallace-Dothan loses two games this weekend, the Pirates can approach the final weekend of the season with little stress.
“If we are able clinch early, we will approach the final weekend differently. Our starters have been so good that we haven’t been able to get our bullpen the innings we would like. If we are to clinch early, I definitely want to get those guys some work,” Thomas added.
The Pirates will close out the regular season against Lurleen B. Wallace Community College. They will host them on May 4 for a double header beginning at 1 p.m. ET at Howard Lake Field.