|After a 10-day layoff, the Pirates hit the
field tonight for their first game of the season
against the Cardinals. And who is this in the
Pirate dugout? It's our top secret agent, B.J.,
so secret he's only known by his initials. After
an early season super-secret mission, B.J. is
back in uniform! And who's that other man wearing
a dashing black Pirates shirt? That must be Coach
The Pirates looked real excited to hit
the field after not having played for ten days.
In fact, I'm not sure they even noticed that the
first six Cardinals got hits. B.J. was put to the
test right away, as two batters hit sharp
grounders at him. Four more hits followed, and
the Cardinals had the "max" allowable
runs, five, with nobody out. The inning's
highlight was the ol' trick play attempt on the
stealing runner. Andrew and Ryan did it well, but
nobody was fooled.
In the bottom of the first, the Pirates tried
to scratch out some runs. Blake started us off
with a single to center field. Ryan followed with
a perfect bunt single. That put runners at first
and second, Coach Rodney called for the ol'
double steal and everybody moved up. Then Andrew
grounded out to the pitcher. Our cleanup hitter
Anna cracked an RBI single to center field.
Michael flared a foul ball that the first baseman
made a nice play on. With two outs, Matthew laid
down a real nice bunt to put runners on the
corners. Matthew ain't staying at first for long!
He's off, running to second! Then Brian works the
count full and smacks an infield hit to second
base. That plated our third run. B.J. ended the
inning with a popup that the first baseman
gloved. That's 3 putouts by the Cardinals first
baseman. Pirates go to the second inning trailing
You know, the Cardinals got the
"max" last time up. But guess what? Max
got the Cardinals this time around, cleaning
fielding a popup to second base for the first out
of the second inning. A couple perfect Cardinal
bunts and steals put the Cardinals in perfect
scoring position. Hayden made a fantastic
heads-up play, coming off the mound to field a
dribbler to the left side. Hayden leapt into the
air and flipped the ball towards B.J. at third.
And you know what? It almost worked!! That was
Hayden's only play! The Cardinals got a few more
hits, had a strikeout, and the final batter
grounded out to Anna at first base. Cardinals get
four -- that's one less than the "max"
(probably 'cause Max got them!).
In the bottom of the second, the Pirates had a
leadoff strikeout. Then Josh M. (call me Montana)
strode to the plate. With 2 strikes on him,
Montana boomed a high single to left field! Max
followed with a sharp single to right field.
Chris had a single to shortstop, with Josh M.
scoring on a bad throw. Josh B. (call me Gumbo)
grounded out to the first baseman. That brings
the top of the Pirates' order up! Blake and Ryan
get good singles and RBIs. Finally, Andrew steps
up and gets a 2-RBI double to end the scoring.
That's the max for the Pirates! It's a real close
game, as the Pirates trail 9-8 after two innings
The Cardinals tough number-two batter led off
the third inning, hitting a screaming line drive
right at Chris at second base. Yikes!! Showing no
fear, Chris tried to make the play on the ball
(or was the ball trying to make a play on
Chris?). The line drive glanced off, and the
runner was safe. A few more hits netted some
runs. Brian made a nice highlight play at
shortstop, going into the hole to knock down the
ground ball. It kept the runners at first and
second instead of second and third. But the
Cardinals poured it on. They stopped at five
In the bottom of the Pirates' third inning,
Anna led off with a single to shorstop. Michael
laid down a great bunt and hustled ahead of the
throw. Yay!! After a strikeout, Brian hit with
authority as he cracked a 2-RBI single up the
middle. Of course he stole second. Then B.J.
plated Brian with a single to center field.
Hayden put down his specialty (the bunt), and Mr.
Montana got another single (on his fifth pitch).
That's three runs. That's okay, but we want the
max. Say it with me -- We want the max! We want
the Max!! And Max delivers a 2-out, 2-RBI single
to push five runs across. Yahoo!!
On to the fourth inning, where the Pirates
have one more chance to break through. The
Pirates still trail 14-13. The Cardinals got some
hits and scored one run, but they also had two
strikeouts -- and then Anna nailed it down by
stopping a smash at first base. Wow! The Pirates
defense shows up at just the right time!!
So the Pirates head to the bottom of the
fourth, trailing by 2 runs. Chris leads off with
a smack-a-roo towards third base that handcuffs
the fielder. Gumbo popped out, and Chris made an
awesome heads-up baserunning move! He stayed put
and avoided the double play!! Then Chris showed
his smarts on the next play, staying put as Blake
grounded a single to shortstop. Ryan got a single
along with an RBI. After some steals, that put
the tying run at third (Blake) and the
very-likely-winning run at second (Ryan).
"Ducks on the pond", yells Coach
Rodney. What the heck is that coach talking
about? Oh, he means we have baserunners in
scoring position. That baseball lingo is pretty
darn strange....(don't even get me started about
"Uncle Charlie" or "can of
corn"). Andrew ignores Coach Rodney's
ranting about ducks and crushes a hit to center
field!! Two more runs score!! Anna followed with
a double to right center, putting our speed
demons Andrew and Anna on in scoring position.
Then Michael hits a popup to shortstop -- but it
falls in for a hit!! And Andrew scores! Alright!
Matthew grounds into our second out. Brian, fresh
off the disabled list, shows no signs of a
sprained ankle as he gets his third hit of the
game and couple more RBIs! Brian is eventually
thrown out at third base. But, how about them
Pirates?!! Six clutch runs to take the lead
The Cardinals had one more chance in the top
of the fifth inning. Some hits and a couple
strikeouts put the Cards in position for a
two-out rally. A hit up the middle turned into a
throw to home, over Andrew's head. But what's
this? Andrew hustles to the fence, picks up the
ball, and fires to Michael already covering home!
Michael puts down the tag.........yerrrrrrrr out!
Ballgame!! Pirates win 19-15!
Coach Rodney had a tough choice tonight. Brian
had a great return to action, with 3 hits and
five big RBI's! B.J. had a nice debut. Chris went
2-for-2 and made fantastic baserunning decisions!
But Coach Rodney knew that we needed our
"max" effort to win this game tonight.
Max went 2-for-2, making clutch hits and RBIs,
and even fielded a popup at second base. Offense,
defense, what else can you ask for? Oh yeah, Max
was never in danger of getting doubled up!! Max
is tonight's highly-deserved Pirate Pick!
Way to go Max!!