GRAND JUNCTION, Col. Top-ranked Chattahoochee Valley scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to rally past No. 2 Delgado (Louisiana) 8-6 in the opening round of the JUCO world series at Suplizio Field.
The win sends the Pirates (48-9) into a game against Blinn (Texas) at 4 p.m. Monday. Delgado plays an elimination game against Cochise (Arizona) at 4 p.m. Sunday.
''In a tournament like this, to have a realistic shot to win, you have to win the first game,'' CVCC coach Adam Thomas said after the game. ''You can drop the second or third one can come back. But if you drop that first one, you will have a long row to hoe.''
The Pirates, who were making their first appearance in the world series, scored the four runs off reliever Scott Stonestreet. Delgado starter Chase Hymel pitched the first seven inning and allowed four runs on four hits. But none of those hits came after the third inning.
Hymel left after Delgado had scored twice in the top of the eighth for an 8-6 lead.
But Jared Martin, who went 2-for-3, doubled on the first pitch from Stonestreet. After Trevor Kieboom struck out, Cam Sperry crushed a pitch that bounced off a light pole beyond the fence in right field to tie the game at 6-6.
Grayson Ivey reached on an error, then Tyler Lynn tripled, scoring Ivey with the go-ahead run.
JD Perry struck out, but the catcher couldn't hold on to the third strike and had to throw to first to retire him. On the play, Lynn scored from third base to give the Pirates an 8-6 lead.
''Cam is the most underrated, under-recognized hitter in the Southeast,'' Thomas said. ''The ball he hit, it wasn't a moon shot, it was a Leer jet.''
Chris Brown, who came on and got the final two outs in the top of the eighth, made it stand up in a stressful top of the ninth.
After getting the first batter on a fly ball, Brown hit Cody Ducote on a 3-2 pitch. Chris Eades singled and Jordan Caillouet walked to load the bases.
But Brown got Troy Lewis to ground out to end the game.
''Tonight was just a microcosm of our season,'' Thomas said. ''These guys just wouldn't allow themselves to be beat. They have got it done all season.''
CVCC jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning against Hymel. Jeff Ronpirin doubled off the right field wall. After John Holland walked, Martin just missed a home as his drive bounced off the top of the wall in left for a triple and a 2-0 lead.
Kieboom grounded out, driving in Martin for a 3-0 lead.
Delgado (43-12) tied the game off CVCC starter Dalton Rentz in the second as Caillouet hit a three-run homer.
CVCC scored a single run in the third when Holland was hit by a pitch. After Martin walked, Kieboom singled Holland in for a 4-3 lead. Delgado tied the game in the fifth. Bryce Adams, who finished 3-for-4, tripled to lead off. he scored on Cole Freeman's ground out.
Rentz pitched seven innings and allowed four runs on seven hits and three walks. he struck out nine.
''Dalton didn't have his good stuff,'' Thomas said. ''But he has a lot of guts. He is a competitor.''
Notes: With the day off Sunday, Thomas said he will let the players sleep in, then take them on a trip to the mountains. Thomas said he has been in awe of how beautiful the landscape is around Grand Junction. Thomas will also have the team take batting practice, but it will be in a cage inside. He doesn't want the players taking BP in the think air. ''I don't want them to start thinking about how far they can hit one,'' he said.
Saturday at Grand Junction
WPChris Brown. LPScott Stonestreet. Leading hittersDelgado Austin Barrois 2-4, 2B, 2R; Jordan Caillouet 1-3, HR, 3 RBI; Bryce Adams 3-4, 2B, 3B, R. CVCC Jeff Ronpirin 1-5, 2B, R; John Holland 0-2, 2R; Jared Martin 2-3, 2B, 3B, 2R, 2RBI; Trevor Kieboom 1-3, 2RBI; Cam Sperry 2-4, HR, 2B, 2 RBI; Grayson Ivey 0-4, R; Tyler Lynn 1-4, R, RBI, 3B; JD Perry 0-3, Kendall Ford 1-4.