The sails were full for the Chattahoochee Valley (AL) CC Pirates (52-11, 3-1 JUCO) as they took on the undefeated San Jacinto-North (TX) Gators (51-11, 3-1 JUCO) Thursday night at Sam Suplizio Field in Grand Junction. The Pirates had two options as the No. 1 ranked team: Show up and let your offense dominate, or show up and let the San Jacinto Gators gobble you up like chicken.

Instead of being chewed alive by the Gators’ hot offense, CVCC decided to let the bats fly, hammering out 13-runs forcing the game into a run-rule final in seven innings. The win forces a win-or-go-home rematch Friday to see who will face Yavapai (AZ) CC in the national championship.

Even head coach Adam Thomas got in on the offensive action, running up and down the third base line with his runners headed home. The Pirates took control of the game with a monstrous second inning, scoring seven runs.

Will Campbell was the catalyst for the Gators. He went 3-for-5 with four RBIs, even launching a three-run home run to left field. Nolan Greckel also had a tremendous night at the plate for CVCC going 3-for-3 and driving in two runs.

Not to be forgotten in all the destruction by the Pirates offense was the effort on the mound from Chase Burks. The tall, broad-shouldered, bearded righty gave the Pirates’ seven full innings, giving up three runs with five strikeouts a 115 pitches. Thomas tried even to pull him out, as it would be his final game in Chattahoochee Valley uniform, but Burks said no to that offer from his head coach, wanting to finish the Gators off himself.

“Here’s the thing about Burks,” Thomas said, “there’s probably a thousand other guys out there in America with better stuff, but I don’t think there’s a better pitcher, player or baseball player in general. Who has more heart, guts and intestinal fortitude, we’ll call it, then he does?”

The Pirates and Gators play Friday at 7:00 p.m.