By Nathaniel Frazier
OZARK—Adam Thomas is no stranger to winning state tournaments. In his 20 years (19 as head coach) at Chattahoochee Valley, Thomas has won four ACCC titles. The latest one came Monday afternoon. Thomas and his Pirates overpowered the Wallace-Hanceville Lions 10-5 to win the 2018 Championship at Historic Eagle Stadium.
"This fourth one is just as sweet as the first one," Thomas said. "We're used to being here, but it never gets old. The best thing about this year's tournament is the top four teams (CVCC, Wallace-Dothan, Wallace-Hanceville, Shelton State) all made it to the semifinals. That's the way it should be. It makes for good baseball."
It was like a steady drip, drip, drip for the Pirates. CVCC didn't have that big breakout inning. They never scored more than two runs in any inning. But what they did was score in seven of the eight innings they came to bat.
The Pirates had 12 hits in the game, the same amount as Hanceville. But the Pirates got hits when it mattered most.
Also what mattered was good starting pitching. CVCC starting pitcher Evan Barber pitched 7 1/3 innings, striking out six, giving up seven hits and allowing only two runs.
By contrast, Hanceville started Wallace Henry didn't make it out of the first inning. He was credited with two runs—even though he didn't give up a hit. Henry walked two and hit a batter. One run scored on a first-and-third double steal while the second scored on error.
The Lions tied things up in the top of the second. Their runs came on a two-run homer by Kevin Bryant.
But it was painfully obvious the Lions were stretched for pitching. Austin Parker came on in relief in the bottom of the first to get the final two outs. The problem with that is, Parker was the starter in the earlier game against Wallace-Dothan.
CVCC was able to take advantage of this and just steadily increased its lead. It began in the bottom of the second when Isaac Phillips led off with a solo homer over the right field wall.
While Hanceville scored a run in the top of the third, CVCC added another in the bottom half. This time Phillips singled to score Jason Rooks.
The Pirates added two more runs in the fourth from a two-RBI single by Jack Copley, and Phillips scored again in the fifth after reaching base on single and scoring on an error.
Parker finally completely ran out of gas in the seventh inning. CVCC added two more runs that inning off the third reliever for Hanceville.
The Lions did get two more runs in the final inning. Both came on a two-run homer from Bryant, his second of the game.
Chattahoochee Valley will now represent the state of Alabama at the NJCAA World Series in Grand Junction, CO.
2018 ACCC Baseball Champions - Chattahoochee Valley
2018 ACCC Baseball Runner-Up - Wallace State
2018 ACCC Baseball Coach of the Year - Adam Thomas - Chattahoochee Valley