Magical run continues for No. 5 Chattahoochee Valley

kprice@ledger-enquirer.comFebruary 27, 2013 

It had been a nice start to the season for Chattahoochee Valley Community College, winning the first 10 games on the schedule, including the first game of a doubleheader against Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

But now, the streak was surely coming to an end as the Pirates trailed 10-5 in the bottom of the seventh inning, the final scheduled inning.

But somehow, the Pirates rallied and scored five runs in that inning to force extra innings. They went on to win in 11 innings, but not before falling behind again as ABAC scored in the top of the 11th for an 11-10 lead.

Jared Martin tied the game in the bottom of the 11th, then he scored the game-winner on Tim Massingale's hit.

The Pirates, who are ranked No. 5 in this week's National Junior College poll, have added a pair of wins since that Feb. 16 twinbill to run their record to 13-0, the best start in Adam Thomas' long career at the Phenix City school. Former coach B.R. Johnson said he couldn't recall a better start.

"I don't think any coach can tell you they see a start like this coming," Thomas said. "But what I can say from August on, there has been a complete buy-in by the players.

"We could lose the next 13 in a row, but every practice, there has been energy and effort. We are doing the things that should make you successful.

"But we have been lucky, too."

Thomas is referring to the 5-0 record in games decided by two runs or fewer, including three that went extra innings.

But the Pirates, who play at Georgia Perimeter today at 1 p.m., have also pounded some opponents, winning seven times by 5 runs or more.

"I told my dad the other day 'I sit in the dugout sometimes with a smile on my face because win or lose we have done the things we needed to do that day.'"

Last year was a struggle for the Pirates, who were 6-7 after 13 games. They would go on to have a 35-24 record, but it was not a happy clubhouse.

"We just didn't have the chemistry," Thomas said. "I loved every one of those individually and still do. But the chemistry was not good last year. We really had to fight (to get guys to buy in.)

"We may have the worst coaches in the world or the best, but these guys have done everything we asked, no questions."

The Pirates have been led by Nick Jones, who is batting .465 (20-for-43) with nine doubles, 13 RBIs and 15 runs scored. He has also picked up a pair of wins in relief, including that Game 2 thriller against ABAC.

"He has done everything for us but drive the team bus," Thomas said. "He has matured in so many ways off the field. It has been great to see, and it has shown on the field."

The Pirates have even been lucky with the weather. They had lost only one game to rain before Tuesday's game at West Georgia Tech was postponed until Friday.

"Where the weather has affected us is practice," Thomas said. "We have had only two on-field practices. We have been practicing before games or inside. I know the guys are tired of hitting inside."

Kevin Price, 706-320-4493, kprice@ledger-enquirer.com. Follow Kevin on Twitter@lesports

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