Singles add up to Blinn win
Home runs are impressive, but hitting enough singles can add up to a rout, too.
Two days after winning a first-round game in the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series with three home runs among seven extra-base hits, Blinn College (Texas) laced 11 singles among its 12 hits Monday to beat top-ranked Chattahoochee Valley Community College (Alabama) 10-2 in a game-shortened to eight innings by the run rule.
The Buccaneers (36-26) scored a run here and a run there in taking a 4-2 lead after six innings, then broke the game open in the top of the eighth, scoring six runs on five hits, a hit batter, a sacrifice, an error and a wild pitch.
“There’s a lot of ways to get home,” Blinn coach Harvey McIntyre said. “We got a big inning there. You get hit by a pitch, sac him over, then we blew the doors off of it. You know, get ‘em on, get ‘em over.
“We’ve done a great job of executing all year long, but it was good to see our kids kind of, I guess you want to say, take the bull by the horns and finish the game in the eighth inning.”
The Pirates (48-10) still got to bat in the bottom of the eighth, but Blinn relief pitcher Dillon Mazzoccoli retired the side in order, ending the game an inning early.
Mazzoccoli took the mound after starting pitcher Christian Thames allowed two singles to start the seventh inning, and he retired all six batters he faced.
Thames had been what the Buccaneers needed him to be before his exit, scattering 11 hits and walking one batter. Chattahoochee Valley scored one run in the second and another in the third, but Thames and the Bucs’ defense limited the damage in those innings, and the Pirates stranded nine runners.
“Looking at it, we walked one guy today. That’s the difference in the game,” McIntyre said. “(The Pirates) have a lot of scary good over there. I mean, they’ll make you take a deep breath with every swing.
“You know, (Thames) competes, he gets after it, (and we play) kind of bend-don’t-break kind of defense. He left them on the ropes a couple times, and to pitch into the seventh today is huge.”
Thames credited his off-speed pitches for the strong outing.
“I was able to locate off-speed pitches and mix it up, keep the hitters off balance. I’m not going to overpower them, I had to hit spots, mix up speeds.”
Thames is left-handed, and that came as no surprise to Chattahoochee Valley coach Adam Thomas.
“There must be something on the Internet somewhere that says throw left-handers against Chatt Valley, because if we’ve seen one starting left-handed pitcher, we’ve seen about 8,000,” Thomas said.
“He did a phenomenal job. He certainly wasn’t overpowering, but he was just down and away, down and away, down and away. We had our chances to really pop him early and jump on him.”
Meanwhile, the Pirates got a good outing from starting pitcher Dylan Lee, who entered the game with a 9-0 record and a 1.03 earned-run average. Lee got chased with one out in the eighth, but through seven innings, he had been effective. Two Chattahoochee errors led to three of Blinn’s first four runs.
“He was throwing a five-hitter with one earned run through seven innings, I believe,” Thomas said. “He did his part. We just didn’t catch the ball behind him.”
Thomas added, “Hats of to Blinn. They came out and played hard and got after us. They just beat a guy that was 9-0 and a sub-one ERA. I mean, what can you say? Good for them.”