Pirates vs. Astros
April 7, 2001

W 17-12

Let's see. A big cup of coke. Pizza. TV remote control. Yep, looks like I have enough to get me through this very long game report. I'll give away the ending -- Pirates win big and play fantastic!! Just like the big-league Astros, the PeeWee Astros came in to the game undefeated.

Blake'n'Ryan (consider 'em the same person 'cause they kept doing the same thing all game) started the Pirates with sharp singles to right field. Anna got a single too to score Blake. Michael then put down an awesome bunt -- they made the play at first, but it scored Ryan! Hayden hit into a fielder's choice and then Josh M. hit a line drive to first. The first baseman made a nice grab. Oh well. Pirates head to the bottom of the first with two runs on the board.

In the bottom of the first, the undefeated Astros started with three straight singles. The tough cleanup hitter smacked a grounder to Josh B., who put the tag on the runner for the fielder's choice out. The Astros threatened some more and eventually had 2 strikeouts. Michael had two hustling attempts to catch foul balls -- nice tries, but the ball fell just out of reach. The Astros score 4 and we head to the second inning.

The Pirates need a spark on offense. And guess who strides to the plate? Sparky! Yes, Matthew stepped up, dug in, and ripped a double to left field. Max followed with a groundout to first base, moving Matthew up to third. Josh B. then got an RBI single down the third base line. A subsequent strikeout meant the Pirates had two outs. Time for a two-out rally!! Back to the top of the order where Blake'n'Ryan got singles (again). Anna flared a single just inside the first base bag. Then Michael crushed a single to center field! Hayden laid down a gorgeous bunt to load the bases. A final strikeout ended the Pirate scoring, but hey -- the Pirates bat all 10 players and score 4!

In the bottom of the second, the Pirate defense rose up! The first batter lifted a fly ball to the left side of the infield. Michael charged and gloved it clean for the first out! Great hustle, Michael! The next batter grounder to Ryan at pitcher, who wheeled and fired to Anna for the second out. Then Max got down on a ground ball at second base and fired on to Anna. Three up, three down! Yeah baby!!

Pirates start the third inning with a 6-4 lead. Once again, Coach Rodney felt we needed a spark. Yep, that means it's time for Sparky! Matthew leads off again and smacks a single to center field. Max grounded into a fielder's choice. Then Joshua B. put down a great bunt and reached first safely! Chris hit into a fielder's choice and the Pirates were once again sitting on two outs. Time for another 2-out rally! Of course, Blake'n'Ryan got singles. Anna and Michael followed with singles, getting good RBIs. Hayden hit a slow roller down third base. It's foul...foul...foul...FAIR! It rolled fair!! And it's a good thing Coach Rodney had Anna running all the way. Everybody's safe! Josh M. hit into a final fielder's choice, but the Pirates score another 4 runs on two outs! And we batted around the order again.

In the bottom of the third, the top of the Astros lineup was up. After a leadoff single, the next batter lined a hard one to Ryan at shortstop. Ryan caught it on the short hop and made the easy putout at second base. Another few hits netted 4 runs for the Astros. But we can't go further without mentioning that Hayden caught a popup at pitcher. And then Blake, in his first catching appearance, sprung out from behind the plate to field a bunt and fired on to Anna for the third out! Pirates lead 10-8 after 3 innings.

In the fourth inning, the Pirates once again needed .... (let's say it together)....a spark! Bring on Sparky! And Matthew hit his third straight single to lead off an inning. Max followed with a single to right field. Coach Rodney had Matthew screaming around the bases. With the outfielder not sure what to do, Coach Rodney sent Matthew home. Wow! He scored from first base on the single! Josh B. followed with a fielder's choice. Then Chris stepped in and rocketed one off the pitching machine. Did he break it? Whew! It's all ok. We're back to the top of the order now, where Blake'n'Ryan each got singles....again.... for the fourth straight time! Anna followed with a monster line drive to left field for a double (very smart baserunning Anna!). Two groundouts ended the scoring, but the Pirates score five!

In the bottom of the fourth, the Pirate defense was incredible. The first Astro put down a bunt and reached safely. The throw was wide, the ball was loose, so the runner tried to take second base. Too bad for him the hustling Michael ran to the ball and fired to Ryan for the tag putout on the advancing runner. One down! The next batter reached safely with a single to right field. He tried to steal on the next pitch. Too bad for him the Pirates had Hayden behind the plate. Hayden threw down a perfect strike to Ryan at second base, who applied the tag for his second putout of the inning. The next batter didn't want to get to get tagged out. He fell on strikes. Three batters. Three outs! Pirates lead 15-8 after 4 innings!

In the top of the fifth, the Pirates weren't able to put any runs on the board. Nice plays by the Astros shortstop and third baseman shut down the Pirates. In the bottom of the fifth, the Astros started with a strikeout and a single. The next batter hit a high fly ball down the first base line. Only one player has a chance -- the pitcher Michael -- and he has to hustle! Sure enough, Michael darts off the mound, runs to the first base line and makes the tough catch of the popup! Anna followed with an easy catch of a pop fly at first base. Wow!! The Pirate defense is incredible!

It is extremely rare to go the sixth inning in a PeeWee game, much less complete it. But that's exactly what we did. The Pirates started the sixth inning with Christopher smacking a single. Blake grounded out to first base. For the first time this game, Ryan got creative and did something different than matching Blake's singles. This time Ryan hit a screaming triple to the fence in dead center field. It took a great play from the Astros shortstop to keep Ryan from scoring an inside-the-park homer!! That's five hits for Ryan for the game. Anna stepped in and got her fifth hit, a single down the right field line! Michael followed with another hit, and Hayden once again showed how the bunt is supposed to be executed. Josh M. hit into a fielder's choice. Then Matthew hit a line drive right at the pitcher for the third out. But the Pirates score 2 more! That pushes the score to 17-8. That's a very nice cushion heading to the bottom of the sixth.

In the Astros last at-bat, they showed why they came in to the game with no losses. They hit the ball hard and scored a few runs. Matthew made a nice grab of a pop fly at shortstop, and Ryan caught a fly ball from his position at catcher! The final out was a baserunner being struck with a batted ball. That's ballgame! Pirates win 17-12!!

There were many heroes tonight. Ryan and Anna each went 5-for-5 and made nice putouts. Hayden and Blake each made great outs from behind the plate. Matthew started 3 innings with hits. But tonight the game ball goes to Michael, who showed the rest of the team how to always be ready to make the play. It was Michael's great hustle, his caught fly balls, his heads-up putout in the fifth, 3 hits, multiple RBIs, and beautiful bunt -- Michael played a fantastic all-around game. Michael definitely deserves tonight's recognition as the Pirate Pick! Way to go Michael!!

That's two wins this weekend over previously-unbeaten teams. That's great! We'll have to tell Andrew and B.J. all about it -- but don't give them a hard time, because they were both testing for black belts in Tae Kwon-Do this weekend (don't get them upset!!)

Your now-very-tired from-writing-mascot,
Captain "Long Gone" Homer