Pirates vs. Cubs
March 31, 2001

L 17-6

The Pirates ran into a buzzsaw tonight, courtesy of the Cubs. Prepare yourself for the gory details.... actually there's some good highlight material too.

The Pirates were the visiting team tonight, so they batted first. Michael and Ryan led off the game with a couple nice hits. With nobody out, Andrew smoked a grounder to shortstop. The shortstop threw to third base for the force out on Michael. Ryan and Andrew then stole third base and second base, respectively. Brian put down a nice bunt, which the catcher fielded but had no play. That brought up Anna with the bags full and one out. Anna worked the count full. Then on the fifth pitch, Anna lashed a hard hit to left field. That plated two runs and moved Brian up to third base! Blake followed with a fielder's choice (Anna was out at second). Blake then stole two bases, but was stranded at third on a final strikeout. A pretty nice start to the game -- Pirates score 3 runs going into the bottom of the first.

The Cubs got things going quick, with 3 quick hits to load the bases. Michael fielded a bloop that landed in front of the plate and tagged out the runner heading home. Unfortunately, the next couple Cubs had big RBIs and the Cubs scored 5. On to the second inning with the Pirates down 5-3.

Max started with a nice hit. He twisted his ankle as he hit first base. Coach Rodney was worried that Max might not be able to run well. Not a problem. Christopher stepped up next and hit a soft pop fly to first base. Max took off for second -- the ankle was fine. But, uh... uh... Max -- you're gonna get doubled off if you don't tag up. The first baseman made the double play official as he stepped on first base. Just a reminder guys -- you must not just take off running on a fly ball (or a line drive). And listen to your coaches!! Hayden got a long hit to left field, which he hustled into a double. Great baserunning, Hayden! With two outs, Coach Rodney tried to force the action, maybe manufacture a run with some aggressive (but smart) baserunning. He signalled for Hayden to steal third. Hayden stole third and the ball got loose. This is what Coach Rodney wanted. He sent Hayden in to home, but the shortstop made a good play to back up the throw. Then he fired home, where Hayden was seriously dead meat as he came to the plate. Yikes! No runs!

The Cubs didn't give any ground in the second inning. The first batter hit a flare towards first, which Anna couldn't get the play on. But Christopher was backing up the play and *almost* tagged the baserunner. Anna had another chance on the next batter, and she took advantage of it with a nice putout at first. A few more hits and a strikeout brought the Pirates within an out of stopping the Cubs. But several hard hits drove the maximum runs across. Pirates go the third inning trailing 10-3.

Joshua B. led off the third inning with a very pretty bunt. And that dude is quick on the basepaths! Matthew followed with his own bunt -- they threw out Matthew, but Joshua B. went on to second. That brought up Michael. Michael flared a pop fly towards shortstop. OH NO!! Not again!! Joshua B. took off for third base as contact was made. Another easy double play for the Cubs and the Pirates are staring down a 10-3 deficit going into the bottom of the third inning.

Defensive highlights abounded for the Pirates in the bottom of the third. The first batter hit a grounder to "deep in the hole" at shortstop (that means a grounder that's close to the outfield grass and the shortstop is closer to third base when he fields it, usually backhanded). Brian gloved it clean and came up firing to Michael at first base. Michael tried to scoop the one-hopper, but couldn't quite come up with it. It sure looked pretty though! Michael then made a good play at first base on a grounder. The ump called "safe" on a bang-bang play (that means "close"). A few more Cubs got hits. Then the Pirates made a nice play as Joshua M. blocked the plate and applied the tag on a runner coming home! With two outs and the game pretty well out of hand, the next batter hit an absolute smash to Matthew at third base. The hot corner (third base) is not a position for those that frighten easily. Matthew reacted quickly, throwing that glove up and making a circus catch to rob the batter of certain extra bases! Super catch Matthew! He even threw to the plate where Joshua M. made another bonus tag on the sliding runner. On to the fourth inning, where the Pirates were in a deep 13-3 hole.

Ryan and Andrew started the Pirates' fourth inning with a couple hard hits to the outfield. Brian got in a 2-strike hole, but came through in the clutch to get an RBI hit to center field. Anna followed with an out, and Blake got a hit, but two strikeouts ended the threat. The Pirates score 3 to push the score to 13-6.

In the bottom of the fourth, Andrew shut down the first batter by cleanly fielding the grounder at pitcher and tossing to Hayden at first for the out. The Cubs got a couple hits, and then another Cub hit a hard hit to left field. Anna picked it up and fired straight to the plate where a waiting Joshua M. put out yet another runner! Note that Anna came up throwing. Hesitating, or pumping a throw once or twice will never get the out. Way to go Anna! And another great tag Josh! Sadly, that wasn't enough. With two outs, the Cubs get a couple more hits and score a total of 4 runs. That put them ahead 17-6, and therefore they won by the 10-run rule.

So the game was officially over. We went ahead and played another practice inning. This time, all ten Pirates hit! We probably scored 7 or 8 runs. Now if we can just do that in our next game............

This was one of those games that you have to put behind you. We hit the ball pretty well, but we made some critical baserunning mistakes that really hurt. So who was today's Pirate Pick? In a game that wasn't real close, Matthew made a super catch of a line drive that would make any highlight reel. Matthew is today's Pirate Pick. Congratulations, Matthew!

Captain "Long Gone" Homer