Pirates riding high as they head to Colorado - WRBL

Pirates riding high as they head to Colorado

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Chattahoochee Valley head coach Adam Thomas said it wouldn’t hit him that his team was playing in the JUCO World Series in Grand Junction, Colo. until he saw “a mountain with some snow on it.”

Now, it must have sunk in.

The Pirates travelled to Grand Junction on Wednesday, following the advice of Wynn Fletcher, head coach of the 2013 national champions, Central Alabama, and good friend of Thomas. With the first game not until Saturday, the extra couple days help the Pirates adjust to Colorado’s higher altitude.

CVCC faces South Central region champ Delgado on Saturday night at 9:30.

Of course, the rarified air may feel right at home to a team riding high.

“There’s a lot of excitement,” said freshman third baseman Trevor Kieboom. “Our goal at the beginning of the year was to get there, and now that we’ve gotten there, the bigger goal, obviously, is to win it all.”

The Pirates have held onto the no. 1 ranking in the country for much of the second half of the season, and Thomas said it’s not just talent on the field.

“They’re good,” he allows. “You don’t do what we did and not be talented, but what they’ve done is they’ve been so low-maintenance in all aspects of what we do.”

Much of the Pirates’ success can be attributed to the pitching staff. The team ERA of 2.28 is tops in the conference by almost half a run.

“We’ve had three stronger starters from the beginning,” Kieboom said. “Every single time they go out there they give us a chance to win, and I think our offense thrives off our starters.”

Conversely, the strength of the pitching staff frees up the hitters. Knowing they don’t have to score six, seven, eight runs a game lets the offense flow, to the tune of an ACCC-leading team average of .346.

“We can score three, four runs, I feel like, off any pitcher,” said sophomore right-hander Dylan Lee. “As long as our starting pitcher and our relievers can hold us within striking distance, then we can win a ballgame.”

Add those two aspects with solid defense—CVCC committed the third-fewest errors in the conference—and you have a team that is primed to make an already memorable season even more special.

“How do we hold onto it? Well I didn’t do it. They did,” Thomas said, gesturing to his team loosening on the field. “Credit goes to those guys. They’re just good. To be the number one team in the country for six, eight weeks…”

He pauses.

“I mean, holy cow, man.”

Jonathan Huskey

Jonathan comes to News 3 from Fort Smith/Fayetteville, Ark., where he anchored weekends and reported during the week on some of the best high school sports in the state. More>>

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