The second-ranked Chattahoochee Valley Community College baseball team is looking to accomplish something only one other team has done — win three straight ACCC championships.
The Pirates (45-10, 29-3) receive a first-round bye in this year’s tournament, which begins Friday at Eagle Stadium in Ozark. They will face the winner of Friday’s Faulkner State vs. Wallace State game at 8:30 p.m. Saturday.
The winner of the ACCC tournament earns a berth in the JUCO world series in Grand Junction, Colo.
Shelton State won three straight ACCC titles in 2007-08-09. CVCC, which won the ACCC South Division, may need to beat Shelton State this year to match that mark.
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Shelton State (34-18, 20-8) won the ACCC North and also receives a first-round bye. Shelton State handed the Pirates one if their 10 losses this season, 13-12 on April 19. It was CVCC’s last loss. The Pirates have won 13 straight since then.
“You always want to be playing your best at the end of the season,” CVCC coach Adam Thomas said. “If you put our season on a graph, I think you would see a steady incline.”
CVCC opened the season by losing four straight, Since then the Pirates have gone 45-6.
“That’s not too shabby,” Thomas said. “That doesn’t mean we are going to go into the tournament and win. But I have no concerns about any part of the team where we are not playing well.”
The Pirates have averaged more than eight runs a game. They are led by outfielder Will Campbell, who leads the team in most offensive categories. including average (.429), home runs (15), RBIs (68), doubles (21), runs scored (64), hits (72), on-base percentage (.528) and slugging (.833).
But he is not a one-man wrecking crew. AJ Willoughby is hitting .344 with eight homers, 11 doubles and 52 RBIs. Brandon Hill also has eight homers to go with 47 RBIs. JT Thomas, who missed part of the early season with a hand injury, has 42 RBIs in just 41 games.
The Pirates can pitch as well as evidenced by their team ERA of 2.75. Chase Burks lead the way with an 11-0 record with a 1.22 ERA. Chase Adkins is 7-0 with a 0.98 ERA. Jordan Lee is 8-2 with an 2.78 ERA.
While each of the last two CVCC teams have advanced to the JUCO world series, this might be Thomas’ best team. But he is not ready to proclaim that just yet.
“If you go straight by the stats, this is the best,” Thomas said. “But until some team finished higher than third like last year’s team did (at the JUCO world series), they are the best.”
Eagle Stadium Ozark, Ala.
South seeds — CVCC, LB Wallace, Alabama Southern, Wallace-Dothan, Faulkner State
North seeds — Shelton State, Marion Military, Calhoun, Wallace State, Lawson State
Game 1 — Lawson State vs. Wallace-Dothan, 10 a.m.
Game 2 — Faulkner State vs. Wallace State, 1:30 p.m.
Game 3 — Calhoun vs. L.B. Wallace, 5 p.m.
Game 4 — Alabama Southern vs. Marion Military, 8:30 p.m.
Game 5 — Game 2 loser vs. Game 3 loser, 10 a.m.
Game 6 — Game 1 loser vs. Game 4 loser, 1:30 p.m.
Game 7 — Shelton State vs. Game 1 winner, 5 p.m.
Game 8 — CVCC vs. Game 2 winner, 8:30 p.m.
Game 9 — Winner Game 5 vs. Loser Game 7, 10 a.m.
Game 10 — Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 8, 1:30 p.m.
Game 11 — Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 7, 5 p.m.
Game 12 — Winner Game 4 vs. Winner Game 8, 8:30 p.m.
Game 13 — Winner Game 10 vs. Loser Game 11, 10 a.m.
Game 14 — Winner Game 9 vs. Loser Game 12, 1:30 p.m.
Game 15 — Winner Game 13 vs. Winner Game 14, 5 p.m.
Game 16 — Winner Game 11 vs. Winner Game 12, 8:30 p.m.
Game 17 — Winner Game 15 vs. Loser Game 16, 2 p.m.
Game 18 — Winner Game 16 vs. Winner Game 17, 5:30 p.m.
Game 19 — If game if loser of Game 18 is first loss, 2 p.m.