Pirates vs. Braves
April 28, 2001

W 18-13

The Pirates had a nice warm day to play the Braves again. We came out on top of the Braves in our first game of the season, so we knew the Braves were looking to even things up.

The Pirates were the visiting team, and they sent Ryan to the plate to lead things off. Ryan cracked a line drive single to right center field and then promptly stole second base. Michael then smacked a double, which plated Ryan. Coach Rodney made an aggressive coaching move (ok, maybe it was kinda stupid). He had Michael try to leg the double into a triple. Uh oh. The shortstop took the throw from the outfield and tossed to third base for the put out. Andrew followed with a bases-empty single past third base. Brian followed with a perfect bunt single -- and heads-up Andrew took third base on the throw to first. Anna then got a crack single up the middle. Blake thought that looked pretty good... so he cracked a line drive hit up the middle too. Hmmm... Max thought the pattern was to hit the ball up the middle. He was right. So Max got a little "bingo" up the middle as well. With one out, Hayden fouled off 3 or 4 pitches right at Coach Rodney. Finally, he figured out what the foul line was for, and he hit the ball just over the third base bag. That scored the Pirates' fifth run!

In the bottom of the first, the Braves leadoff hitter struck out. The next batter hit a smash grounder to Ryan at shortstop. Ryan gloved it clean and fired on to the outstretched Anna to nip the very speedy runner. Great play Ryan! And great stretch Anna! The tough third hitter got a sharp single to Ryan. Ryan almost made the play on him too. Two more hits scored two runs, and a final strikeout ended the scoring. Pirates lead 5-2 after one inning.

Matthew led off the Pirates' second inning. "Sparky" hit the first pitch, a high single to left center field. After a strikeout, Joshua M. lifted a pop fly just behind the second base bag. Fortunately, it dropped in for a hit. And Matthew hustled into second ahead of the throw. B.J. smashed a single and tried to leg into a double. "Hawkeye" was called out at second on a nice slide. Rats! Finally, Joshua B. dribbled a grounder down the third base line. Joshua M. went "on contact" from third base. He flew home and hit the dirt as the third baseman made the throw to the plate. A cloud of dust and..... he's out!! Double rats! Oh well. Pirates do scratch across one run.

In the bottom of the second inning, the leadoff Braves hitter hit a smash into the hole. Ryan fielded it backhanded on the short hop (very impressive), wheeled, and fired to Anna at first base. Ooooh... just barely missed getting the out. The Pirates escaped with only one run scored against them, as three Braves struck out in the inning. Pirates lead 6-3.

In the top of the third inning, Ryan hit a "look out!" grounder to second base. The second baseman had a tough time reacting to the speed of the ball and got plunked in the cheek. Ouch! Michael followed with an infield hit. Then Andrew smashed a line drive over the head of the left center fielder!! Wow! It went to the fence and Andrew cruised into third base for a triple! Brian then grounded into the first out of the inning -- but Andrew scored on the fielder's choice. Anna followed with a line drive at the new second baseman. He reached up and speared it for the second out. With two outs, Blake came to the plate. One thing Coach Rodney has been talking to Blake about was getting good line drives and hitting the ball out in front of the plate. That must have paid off, as Blake ripped a line drive to right field. And it's hit so hard that it goes right by the right fielder before he has a chance to react. Blake hustles around the bases. And Coach Rodney is waving him home! Safe! An inside-the-park home run -- great hit Blake!! Max followed with a line drive to right field for a single. Hayden tried to repeat his smash single the last time up. But he popped up the ball foul and the catcher snared it for the third out. Pirates score 4!

In the bottom of the third, the Braves got off to a quick start with two singles. After a strikeout, the big Braves' long-ball hitter lifted a line drive to left field. Anna is there... she drifts back a couple steps... and squeezes it for the second out! Yeah baby! After another hit, the next batter grounds straight to Brian. Take your time, Brian. He squeezes the ball and tosses to Hayden covering second base for the final out. Yay! Braves score 2 to make the game 10-5 after three innings, with the Pirates in the lead.

In the top of the fourth, Matthew got a sharp single to center field. He got caught stealing second base. Christopher followed with a single off the pitching machine. Then Joshua M. lifted a high double to right field! B.J. smacked a line drive single to shortstop -- the shortstop did a good job of knocking the ball down, but there was no play. A final strikeout ended the scoring. Pirates got one run.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Braves got a single and a triple to start things off. The next batter put down an excellent bunt. Joshua B. charged off the mound, picked it off the ground, and quickly fired to Michael at first base for the out! Yes!! The next batter got a single to center field, but the ball got loose and ended up in Michael's hands at first base. He tried to tag the runner but the runner was back in safe. But Michael stayed focused and noticed that the runner overran the base. Michael puts on the tag -- OUT! A huge play for the Pirates!! The next batter lifted a pop fly to Michael at first, who squeezed it for the third out. The Braves' two runs made it an 11-7 game, going into the important fifth inning.

The Pirates needed to put up some runs to prevent a last-inning comeback by the Braves. Michael led off with a single to right center field. Andrew followed with his second triple of the night. Can someone bring this guy some oxygen? Brian got another hit to score Andrew. Then Anna got a nice double to right center field. Blake came up, probably looking for a another homer. Hey, just get a line drive. That's just what he did, hitting a fading line drive up the middle. The tough Braves shortstop made the shoestring grab for the first out. Max then got an infield hit, legging out a single to the first baseman. Hayden got another hit down the line at third base. Then Matthew laid down a great sacrifice bunt, moving the runners up to second and third. Matthew was thrown out at first. Chris came up with Coach Rodney begging for a little hit to score these two baserunners with two outs. And Chris delivers! A single off the first baseman's shoes (I think). Chris stole second base to get into scoring position. And Joshua M. comes through with another hit, scoring Chris for the season-high record of 7 runs in an inning!!

The Braves had one more crack at the Pirates, but they were too far down in the score. They did score 6, but the Pirates held. The highlight of the inning was Joshua M. taking the relay (in the outfield grass) from the outfield, turning and firing to Blake at home plate, gunning down the advancing runner. What an arm on that boy!! Maybe someone should make him a quarterback and give him a nickname like.... hmmm... Montana!

Pirates win 18-13! And once again Coach Rodney is faced with a tough decision, choosing the player of the game honors. Joshua M. made an excellent case for himself, going 3-for-3 and having that great assist on the play at home. Andrew went 3-for-3 with two triples. Ryan was awesome at shortstop, making highlight film plays. But Coach Rodney went with the guy who made two of the most dramatic plays of the game. Blake ripped the inside-the-park homer in the third inning and blocked the plate and applied the tag in the last inning (on that great throw from Joshua M.)!! Blake is tonight's Pirate Pick! Great game "Stretch"!!

Captain "Long Gone" Homer