Pirates vs. Giants
April 6, 2001

W 12-11

The Friday night tradition of legendary Pirate battles continued tonight. The Pirates were shorthanded, with B.J. and Andrew out of town, and Brian nursing a sprained ankle. So it was time for the rest of the Pirates to pull together. With no further interruptions, we proceed to the game report.

The Pirates hit the field as the home team, hoping to shut down the undefeated Giants. The Giants' leadoff hitter lifted a fly ball towards shortstop, where Ryan made a nice running catch. Their next batter struck out. Their lanky third hitter got an infield hit and eventually moved up to third base. With two outs and a Giants baserunner in scoring position, the cleanup hitter lifted a fly ball past the pitcher near the second base bag. Ryan "got on his horse" and hustled to the ball, making an incredible sliding catch for the third out! Pirates shut down the tough Giants in the top of the first with no runs!

In the bottom of the first, Blake led off with a huge triple to right field! Ryan followed with another hit to right center field, scoring Blake. Then Anna dug in and rocketed a line drive to right center field too! She ended up at second with a double. Hayden put down a gorgeous bunt but got thrown at first when the catcher made a nice play. Michael hit into a fielder's choice, but most importantly, drove in Anna from third base. Chris hit a flare to the first baseman, who gloved it for the final out. But the Pirates score three! And they lead after one inning, 3-0.

In the top of the second, the first two Giants fell on strikes. Three straight infield hits produced a run, but a final strikeout ended the threat. The highlight of the inning was when an overthrow to first base landed in right field. A large black dog streaked from the visiting dugout and picked up the ball, running around in the outfield with the ball in his mouth! And he was happy! "I've got a cool ball, and all these nice people are chasing me!" Sadly, the dog spent the rest of the game in "time out", in the family car.

In the bottom of the second, Max led off with a pop fly to the strong Giants shortstop. With one out, Matthew hit a seeing-eye single down the third base line. Josh B. then stepped up, swung hard, and make excellent contact -- a sharp double to right center field! Josh M. followed with an important 2-RBI double to right center field. Excellent! Coach Rodney caused Josh M. to be called out (on a close play) as Josh tried to steal third. With two outs, the Pirates head to the top of the order! Blake snuck in a hit between first and second base. Finally, Ryan lifted a soft liner over the shortstop's head into left field. WHAT? The shortstop makes an excellent play, making an over-the-shoulder catch on Ryan's hit. But the Pirates head to the third inning up 5-1.

The Giants start the third with three straight hits. Gulp! Then Hayden makes a fantastic play. The batter fouled the ball straight up about 5 or 6 feet. Hayden brushed off his hockey goalie skills and gloved the puck, er... ball, for a putout! WOW! The next batter lifted a huge fly ball between Josh M. and Chris in left field. Josh came running, slid under the ball, and RATS! -- he just missed it. That was a tough play. Then Anna gloved the next grounder, wheeled from her position at pitcher, and fired on to Michael at first base for the putout. Unfortunately, the Giants continued to pour it on. They scored 5.

In the bottom of the third, Anna led off with a towering fly ball to first base. After the ball returned to earth's atmosphere, the first baseman camped under it for the out. Hayden then got another unlucky out. Then Michael put down a gorgeous bunt down the first base line. No one's gonna get that track star! Michael got the call to steal second base. He took off, but quickly realized he was dead meat. So he stopped in his tracks and headed back to first. Smart baserunning, Michael! A final strikeout ended the Pirates threat. No runs score, so we head to the fourth inning down 6-5.

It's gut-check time, Pirates!! The Giants first hitter smacked a sharp grounder to Michael at first base, who fielded it cleanly for the first out. After a double and a stolen base, the Giants had another threat. But after another strikeout, the next batter hit a grounder to Ryan at shortstop, who fired on to Michael for the putout. No runs score! That's HUGE!!

In the bottom of the fourth, Max and Matthew started us with singles. Josh B. fell on strikes, actually bunting foul for the third strike. Max and Matthew moved up on a passed ball. We now reach the critical play of the ballgame. Josh M. lifted a towering fly ball to third base. With only one out, Max streaks for home. OH NO!! You have to tag up! "MAAAAAAAAXXXX!," yells Coach Rodney as he tries to put the brakes on. Fortunately for the Pirates (and especially for Max), the third baseman drops the ball. If he catches it, it's a sure double play -- and the Pirates would score no runs. As it is, one run is in, there's two runners on the basepaths, Coach Rodney is suffering heart failure, and we're back to the top of the order. And do they produce!! Wow, the guys (and gal) crush the ball. That's Blake, Ryan, Anna, and Michael with hits! (Hayden got robbed again on a line drive). We bat all 10 Pirates, with the final RBI coming from Christopher, who scores Michael from second base on a hit to the outfield! Pirates have their biggest inning yet this season and score 7!! Pirates lead 12-6 going to the top of the fifth.

In the fifth inning, the player of the game honors were still up for grabs. Did I say grab? The first batter creams a line drive towards third base. Hayden is in the crease, and makes a glove save! (whoops, wrong sport). Yes, "Slapshot" shows why he is worthy of his nickname with a hockey-inspired defensive gem. A few more hits by the Giants generate a few more runs. But a strikeout and a sweet putout from Ryan to Anna ended the inning. Giants are credited with 5 runs, bringing the score to 12-11. (Actually, a review of the scorebook shows they only got four runs).

Time has expired. The Pirates turn into Giant-killers with another Friday night victory (12 to 11)!

Although there were lots of offensive highlights, Coach Rodney stepped up and named Hayden as today's Pirate Pick for his two outstanding catches in the field. Coach Rodney is a third baseman at heart, and he loves to see good glovework around the ol' hot corner. Congratulations, Hayden!

Captain "Long Gone" Homer