By: Nick Kieser
GALLATIN, TENNESSEE — Wrapping up the final series of the 2019 Spring season the Volunteer State Community College Pioneers defeated the fourth-placed Chattanooga State Community College Tigers 3-1. Concluding the season the Pioneers finished (19-27) and eighth place in the conference.
Through the three games, the Pioneers and Chatt State had a combined total of 76 hits during the course of the two-day series. As far as having the bats ready for the postseason it would be a fair judgment that the Pioneers are prepared for the postseason at the right time.
"All we were doing was just trying to find ways to hit the ball. We dug deep and that's what happened for us. We squared up with the ball and put it in play," said right fielder Jordan Jackson who had a total of seven hits this series.
Game one of the final conference series (April 26) was a 10-9 win for the Pioneers and pitcher Dalton Heath picked up his second win on the season (2-2). Seven pitchers were used for the Pioneers and along with that catcher, Zeke Lecomte and right fielder Jordan Jackson led the way atop the line hitting the ball.
"With the wind blowing in it just told us to stay more on the ball and we thought might as well go for line drives at best. That approach was really good and that was what led to all of the hits," said starting catcher Zeke Lecomte who totaled four hits alone in game one.
Games two and three on April 27 fell on the annual Sophomore Day that the team holds to dedicate an afternoon to the graduating student athletes of Vol State. Hyping up the Sophomores on their day led the Pioneers to a game two victory 13-11.
"We started doing better as a team. Coach [Hunt] gave us some inspiration which hyped everybody up and we started digging. It was an exhausting time but I think that going through this will help us push in the tournament," said shortstop Cole Flatt.
The Pioneers and Chatt State did play a combined total of nine hours of baseball through the three games and as Flatt said this is an exhausting experience but may work in their favor for the conference tournament. Dalton Heath picked up the second win of the series and third of his season (3-2) to wrap it up.
Corey Wilson started game two to start the Sophomore Day but Heath came in for two innings to allow some space to get the offense going for the Pioneers. Collin Kriminger relieved in both game one and two picking up back-to-back saves for the first time as a Pioneer.
"After this series, it really showed how well that we can do and that will be something to build off of as we move along into the tournament. Nothing from the regular season really matters when the postseason starts and we've come together when we need to and the time is now," said Flatt.
Game three Chatt State ran away with the game scoring 16 runs in the top of the sixth inning winning 24-9 to end the regular season. Jack Sensing received the loss finishing the year (3-5) totaling 51 strikeouts in 50 innings pitched in the 2019 season.
"We came out and swung the bats really well this weekend. Heading into the tournament it is good to see that since that's something we have struggled with this season. Our starting pitchers did not go as deep as they usually do but at the same time, it was good to get some other guys some work before the tournament. The starters will have to play better come tournament time," said Head Coach Ryan Hunt.
To see the individual or overall team stats for the 2019 season click here.
"We lost a lot of close games to where we had the lead for a little bit or let it slip away. The big hit was what was missing and that's just the way it is sometimes and the record can only say so much. Yea it looks disappointing but hopefully, we can put a few games together in the tournament and see what happens," said Hunt.
The Pioneers will play Southwest Tennessee Community College Sunday, May 5 with the first pitch at noon. Keep up with the team as the postseason tournament action begins on Twitter @VSCCPioneersBSB for all the news and analysis.
The game against Southwest is a Play-In game with the loser going home and the winner playing Walters State Community College Monday, May 6 starting at 1 p.m.