By Chad Dixon
For the fourth time in five seasons, the Chattahoochee Valley Community College (CVCC) Pirates (48-10) are the Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC) baseball champions. They defeated the Wallace State Lions 10-5 on May 14 in Ozark, Ala., to punch their ticket to the JUCO World Series in Grand Junction, Colo., later this month.
“The fourth one is just as sweet as the first one,” CVCC Head Coach Adam Thomas said. “We’re used to being here, but it never gets old. The best thing about this year’s tournament is the top four teams (CVCC, Wallace-Dothan, Wallace-Hanceville, Shelton State) all made it to the semifinals. That’s the way it should be. It makes for good baseball.”
The Pirates started the tournament on May 11 with a 12-2 thrashing of Calhoun. Casey Cobb, 6-3, struck out eight and allowed one earned run on four hits to lead CVCC in the win. Shortstop Jay Meuse was a perfect 4-for-4 with three doubles and drove in two runs. Second baseman Rankin Woley doubled twice and was 3-for-4 with three RBI. Designated hitter Davis Schwartz drove in three runs and was 2-for-3 with a double.
CVCC defeated Shelton State 8-6 on May 12. Meuse added two more doubles with an RBI. Third baseman Jack Copley drove in four runs and was 2-for-4 and scored twice. Woley was 2-for-5 with an RBI triple. Joe Grahm picked up the win pitching an inning and two-thirds of relief. He struck out three and did not allow a hit.
The Pirates pounded Wallace-Dothan 18-2 on May 13. Jason Rooks, Copley and Meuse all homered in the rout. Meuse was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI. Rooks and Copley drove in three runs each. Lipson was a perfect 4-for-4 with a pair of doubles. Jacob Menders, 11-1, picked up the win. He allowed two earned runs on eight eights through six innings and struck out two.
Central High alum Evan Baber, 7-0, picked up the win in the championship game. He pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowed three runs on nine hits and struck out seven. Sawyer Steele notched his fifth save of the season. He pitched 2 2/3rd innings out of the bullpen, struck out four and allowed two runs on two hits.
Isaac Phillips led off the bottom of the second with a solo homerun to give CVCC a 3-2 lead. The Lions tied the game at three in the third, but CVCC regained the lead in the bottom half of the inning when Phillips hit an RBI single up the middle. Copley extended the lead to 6-3 with a bases loaded single in the bottom of the fourth. Phillips added another RBI single in the bottom of the fifth.
In the seventh, Schwartz was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to extend the lead to 8-3. Woley hit a sacrifice fly to center later in the inning to plate the ninth CVCC run. Copley was 3-for-4 with three RBI.
After the game, Thomas was awarded as the ACCC Coach of the Year. Over the past five seasons, the Pirates have a 129-26 (.832) record in ACCC games under Thomas and four conference championships.
The JUCO World Series will begin May 26. The Pirates will open against the Northern representative. The tournament concludes on June 2.