Pirates finish 5th in World Series
By Jason Brassell
The CVCC Pirates have a lot to be proud of after this season. They’re the Alabama Community College champions. Their head coach, Hunter Vick, is the ACC Coach of the Year. They’re also the No. 5 team in the nation after winning two games and losing two games in the JUCO World Series in Grand Junction Colorado. If there is still any lingering doubt, the two games the Pirates lost in the tournament were both to Central Arizona, the team that won it all.
While the parents, fans, students, staff, and the community all have a reason to be impressed, there isn’t anyone more excited about this season more than Coach Vick.
“I thought our players and coaches were great throughout this amazing run. I want to thank my two assistant coaches, Bill White and Cullen Wacker, for their dedication to our players and to Chattahoochee Valley Community College.
That amazing run included a 20-12 opening round win over New Mexico Junior College, before Central Arizona sent the Pirates to the losers bracket to face Connors, Oklahoma in an elimination game. Zach Cable was the starter on the mound for CVCC, getting the win with seven strikeouts in six innings. Parker Boyle and Cade Evans came on in relief to finish the game. Andrew Greckel led the Pirates at the plate, hitting two home runs that resulted in three RBI and two runs scored. Other leading hitters were Kale Ledford and JoJo Odachowski, who had two hits each. Davis Schwartz, Jason Rooks, Carson Allison, and Odachowski all scored a run for the Pirates. CVCC led the game from start to finish, scoring one run in the bottom of the first inning, four runs in the fourth inning, and one run in the seventh inning. Connors State tried to mount a comeback going into the top of the eighth inning and trailing 6-1. The Cowboys were able to score three runs in to close the gap to 6-4. They were doing their best to do the same in the top of the ninth, but the Pirates were able to shut down any thoughts of a rally and advance to the next round with a 6-5 win.
CVCC tried to mount a comeback of their own in what ended up being the last game of the season. The Pirates found themselves down 6-0 going into the bottom of the fifth. They were able to score two runs in the fifth and sixth to close the gap to 6-4. Central Arizona put up two runs in the top of the seventh inning, while CVCC was able to get one of those runs back in the bottom of the seventh, putting the Pirates down 8-5. Central Arizona was able to put the game away with six runs in the top of the eighth, while CVCC was held scoreless that last inning, which finished the game and the season for the Pirates.
Coach Vick sent eight pitchers to the mound in the game and the group finished with nine strikeouts. Odachowski led the Pirates at the plate with two hits, one being a homerun, two RBI, and one run scored. Ledford also had two hits, while Rooks, Greckel, and Jack Lipson all scored a run.
CVCC finished the season with a 37-20 overall record, which is an impressive feat in itself. It becomes even more impressive with the fact that Coach Vick lost three of the top players in the first month of the season. He had plenty to say about the group of players he did have on the field this season.
“I can’t say enough about the sophomore players and their dedication to excellence for two years at Chatt Valley on the field and in the classroom. Two years and two World Series appearances. They’re a great bunch of guys that just loved playing the game with each other. I’m just happy I had the opportunity to have a front row seat.”
With CVCC making the World Series five of the past six years, it has become somewhat of an expectation to make the trip to Grand Junction, Colorado at the end of the year. Coach Vick and his team answered the call in his first year as the head coach and rest assured he’s ready to get back to work to ensure they make it to Colorado again in 2020.