If the 2014 Pirate baseball team were a science experiment, the constant would be the pitching and the variable, the offense/defense. With virtually the entire pitching staff returning from 2013 and virtually an entire new offense/defense, there were plenty of expectations and unknowns going into Saturday's double header against LaGrange College. If one day is any indication, then plenty of questions were answered, as the Pirates shallacked the Panthers of LaGrange 5-1 and 16-0.
Hunter Mitchell got the season opening start in Game 1 for CVCC and he was masterful in his 4 1/3 innings of work, carrying a perfect game into the fourth inning, before surrendering 3 consecutive singles. However, Huntbo went to work and only allowed a single run on 4 hits, while striking out 6 and surrendering only one walk.
The Pirate offense hit the ball hard all game and got on the board in the second when Tyler Lynn delivered a one out single, stole second and advanced to third on Sam Knight's single to left field. After Knight stole second base, Cam Sperry smoked a 2 run double down the left field line to put the Pirates up 2-0.
Adding to their lead in the third, Trevor Kieboom reached on a fielder's choice and later scored on Tyler Lynn's RBI double to push the score to 3-0. After the Panthers scored in the top of the 4th to close the gap to 3-1, both Mitchell and reliever Payne Kosobucki buckled down and snuffed out a Panther rally in the 5th to preserve the 2 run lead.
In the 5th, John Holland and Jake Maziar drew back to back walks to lead off the inning. After a failed bunt attempt, Jared Martin was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Tyler "Don't Call me Dan" Lynn drove in his second run of the game with an RBI groundout to extend the lead to 4-1.
Dylan Lee entered in the 6th and shut the Panthers down very quietly, while the offense added an insurance run in their half when Kenny "Smoov" Ford drove in JD "Jack Diesel" Perry to push the lead to 5-1.
Closer Chris Brown came on in the 7th and blew 90 mph fastballs by the Panther hitters to shut the door on the game to preserve the 5-1 win for Chatt Valley.
Game 2 saw an offensive explosion that was completely overshadowed by a history making pitching performance. In a 16-0, mercy rule shortened win, starter Kevin Moore threw 4 innings of no hit baseball, striking out 6 LaGrange batters and surrendering only 2 walks. With the pitching being scripted early in the season, "Coach" Mitch Shelby came on in the 5th to preserve the no hit bit with a strikeout of his own, in a 1-2-3 fashion.
After Moore punched out 2 in the first, the Pirate offense went nuts, scoring 10 runs in the bottom half of the inning, with the first 5 batters all recording a hit. Eight of the nine batters notched a hit in the inning, with Holland, Maziar, Martin, Drew Lingo, and James Cunningham all collecting RBI's.
With the game comfortably in hand, Moore was absolutely dominant, choking out any life the Panthers may have had. Ahead 10-0 in the second, Cunningham, up with 2 outs, absolutely hammered his first career homer over the left field wall for an 11-0 lead.
In the third, Holland recorded his 4th of 5 hits on the day, and later scored on Trevor Kieboom's sacrifice fly blast to centerfield.
Up 12-0, the Pirates exploded once more in the 4th, plating 4 more runs highlighted by Jake Maziar's 3 for 4 day, with a mammoth screaming missle over the right field wall for his first career homer, as well. His 3 run job gave him a 5 RBI game, and pushed the final score to 16-0.
After Shelby sealed the deal in the 5th, the Pirates had thrown their first no-hitter since April 21, 2007, when James Thompson, who later pitched in the Kansas City Royals organization, no-hit Bishop State 10-0. Congratulations goes out to Kevin Moore and Mitch Shelby for this remarkable feat.
After a 2-0 start, the Pirates will play host to their original season opening opponent, Jeff Davis, on Sunday, February 2nd for a 2:00 eastern first pitch.
Pictured is Head Coach Adam Thomas and Thomas Martin