GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — Chattahoochee Valley rallied from a five-run, first-inning deficit to beat Yavapai 9-8 in both team's opening game of the JUCO World Series on Sunday night at Suplizio Field.
The Pirates chipped away at the deficit, finally scoring four runs in the bottom of the seventh to take the lead for the first time.
The Pirates took the lead on a Hunter Webb sacrifice fly. Webb also made a leaping catch of a deep fly to center field in the ninth.
Chase Burks came on in relief of starter Jordan Lee and shut down the high-powered Roughriders, allowing no runs on two hits in four-plus innings to earn the win.
After Burks allowed a walk to lead off the ninth, Christian Vann came in and retired all three batters he faced to preserve the victory and earn his first save of the season.
With the win, the Pirates advance to the winners bracket where they will play Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. Their opponent will be either Iowa Western or Northwest Florida State. Those teams play at 4 p.m. Monday.
Lee gave up two singles and two walks for the first Yavapai run in the first. But he got a one-out ground ball to third baseman Ryan Hagan, which might have been the start of an inning-ending double play. But Hagan couldn't field it cleanly and a run scored.
After a groundout scored a third run, Brody Clifford tripled to left center, driving in two for a 5-0 lead.
CVCC started to cut into the deficit in the second. Jake Mazier doubled and scored on Ryan Hagan's single. The Pirates added two more runs in the inning as the Roughriders made three errors.
Alexis Cruz hit a homer for Yavapai in the third for a 7-3 lead.
Hagan drove in another run in the third to cut the deficit to three, 7-4.
Yavapai scored its final run in the fourth for an 8-4 lead.
Grayson Ivey doubled to lead off the sixth for CVCC. Nolan Greckel drove him in on a ground out.
Yavapai threatened in the seventh when Alexis Olmeda doubled to lead off and Degan Harte was hit by a Burks pitch. But Burks picked Olmeda off second base.
Harte went to third on an Andrew Hermann hit. Harte tried to score on a ball that got past Mazier, the catcher, but Mazier threw it back to Burks who had the plate blocked and tagged Harte out to end the inning.
Tyler Lynn led off the seventh for CVCC with a homer to right center.
After Mazier walked, Hagan singled and Brandon Whiteford walked to load the bases, Will Campbell doubled in two to tie the game. Webb followed with a sacrifice fly to score Whiteford and CVCC led 9-8.
Webb also made a leaping catch against the center field wall on a drive by Luke Doyle in the ninth.
FROM STAFF REPORTSMay 25, 2015 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer