|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.
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"!!