So here I am, another baseball season at Chattahoochee Valley Community College has ended, and in a few short months another will begin. The 2010 season was by far the best season we've had in my 6 years at Chatt Valley. It was also perhaps the most disappointing.
Coming into the season, I knew we were going to have a special group of players, and it was certain, in my mind at least, that we would make a serious run at the conference championship and possibly the JUCO world series. We were returning 3 big time starting pitchers, all of whom were locks to sign division I scholarships, and all of which would most likely end up getting drafted. If that wasn't enough, we'd be bringing back back 7 of 9 of our starters from 2009's offense and importing 2-5 impact players via transfer and recruiting.
With such an experienced group, we hit the ground running in the fall by tearing through every opponent we faced in our exhibition season, and we immediately began drawing considerable attention from scouts, coaches, and opposing players. We were good and everyone knew it.
The spring was pretty much the same story. We opened up with an 18 run thumping of Andrew College and never looked back. By the time we caught our breath we were 36-4 and had just rattled of a 20 game winning streak. We weren't just winning, either... We were destroying people. We took 15 wins by the 10 run mercy rule, and we were AVERAGING over 10 runs per game. Even when we finally lost our 5th game of the season, it took an amazing effort to beat us, and we returned the favor with a 26-4 drumming the following day. At season's end, we were the number 2 team in the nation and we'd finished 41-6 overall and 24-3 in the ACCC, easily capturing the ACCC Southern Division Title.
Then, in one night, it wasn't good enough. We played a familiar opponent in the ACCC Tourney opener drawing Central Alabama CC. We'd beaten CACC three times during the year, but they were one of the few teams that played us tough, and we knew they would come into the game hungry to beat us. We threw our Friday starter at them, and we liked the matchup, but as it goes in baseball, things didn't go quite the way we'd planned. Despite having the best fielding percentage in the league during the regular season, we committed two errors in the first inning but were fortunate enough to avoid giving up any runs. Our starter, who went 7-1 with 103K's in just 80.3 innings, wasn't quite as sharp as he'd been (though he wasn't bad, and he wasn't helped by what appeared to be an uncharacteristically small strike zone or our inability to play defense behind him), and the combination of our defensive mistakes, his lack of command, and CACC's desire to beat us put us in a 6-2 hole that we'd never climb out of. If our defensive woes weren't enough, our offense couldn't seem to get the wheels rolling either, and suddenly a team that hit .351 and scored 10.6 runs per game couldn't get anything to fall.
I want to make sure I don't neglect this part either: CACC played a perfect game. They made every play, they got the hits they needed, and the back breaker was that their starter was outstanding. For one night, we weren't the best team in the league, they were, and because of it, the curtain was starting to drop what was going to be our "historic" season. We'd gone into the tournament expecting to run through it, and when the dust cleared on day one, instead of preparing to bulldoze our way through the field, we were shell-shocked and looking at a bracket that would require 6 wins in 4 days... Long story short, the best season in the history of CVCC baseball ended abruptly and after just 3 games in the ACCC tournament.
That's how fast it ends...
It's been a week now, and though I still have a bitter taste in my mouth, there is one comforting thought: The fall is just around the corner.
In 3 months, we'll have 20+ fresh faces and a handful of veterans all with high hopes, and once again, the sky will be the limit.