CVCC transfers make most of second chances

dmitchell@ledger-enquirer.comMay 21, 2014 

Chattahoochee Valley Community College has had its share of second chances en route to a berth in the junior college world series, which begins Saturday in Grand Junction, Colorado, against No. 2 Delgado.

Despite being ranked No. 1 in the country, the Pirates (47-9) most recently found themselves up against the wall in the Alabama Community College Conference championship. It took a four-run ninth inning, including a walk-off three-RBI double by Jared Martin, to win against Alabama Southern. Two wins later, they clinched the team's first trip to the world series.

In many ways, second chances are what Chattahoochee Valley is all about, though.

Take the four former Division-I players who transferred into the school, trying for a second shot to

excel at the game they love.

There's the local star, freshman Tyler Lynn (Smiths Station), who signed with Auburn originally, but transferred back closer to home when he learned he'd have a hard time earning playing time as a true freshman.

Freshman third baseman Trevor Kieboom was looking for success at North Carolina State, but a pair of shoulder surgeries sent him searching elsewhere.

Freshman Jake Maziar had a knee surgery, and sophomore John Holland a back surgery.

Fifty-six games in, it's clear the Pirates likely wouldn't be where they are without them.

"Absolutely," coach Adam Thomas said when asked if that was the case. "They've had a tremendous impact here from Day 1."

Holland, who had the surgery in Feb. 2013, said it took three months before he could throw a ball and six before he could swing a bat. When he came back, it was as if he hadn't ever played.

"I felt very unathletic just running the first time," he said. "It just didn't feel right."

Now, he's the team's leading hitter. He has 80 hits on the season, good enough for a .408 clip. His eight triples lead the team, four homers tied for the best and he's chipped in 38 RBIs.

He says he's just trying to be consistent, that the 7-8-9-1 batters have been setting him up and protecting him all year. But the numbers do speak for themselves.

Kieboom is hitting .330. He doesn't have quite as many extra-base hits, no triples and just one home run, but he does have 46 RBIs, which is third on the team behind Cam Sperry and Jared Martin.

Lynn may have spent most of his time on the bench at Auburn, but at Chattahoochee Valley he's played 48 games, hit .367, stolen 28 bases and driven in 31.

Maziar's season has been interrupted by injuries, but in 26 games, he's hit .316 with 24 RBIs.

More than anything, Thomas said their adjustment to a smaller school has made the biggest difference.

"The thing is, they're fantastic kids that fit into the culture of CV," he said.

"It doesn't always happen that way. When you get a guy coming from a Clemson, an FSU, a Wake (Forest) or an Auburn, places where they have unlimited resources, you don't know what you're going to get as far as their response here. Do they buy in or is it, 'I'm too big for my britches'?

"But they trusted what we did here and what we were going to do here. Look at the numbers from them this year, and that speaks for itself."

And Lynn summarized in a quick statement what being here means for him, as well as his fellow Division-I transfers.

"Where I was, my season would be over," he said. "Here, I have a chance to play for a national championship."

Not a bad place to be.

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