Pirates vs. Giants
May 5, 2001

L 12-10

The Pirates and the Giants squared off again on a hot Saturday afternoon game. But what's this with the parents in the stands? They're wearing black! Didn't they learn in school that light colors reflect heat -- they must be up to something. Coach Rodney, do you have any idea what's going on? Oops, sorry. Coach Rodney is in the corner crying. Apparently he was listening to the old Jimmy Buffett classic tune "A Pirate Looks At Forty". Oh, I get it. Coach Rodney turns the big Four-Oh today. Or is that the big Four-UhOh? Anyway, enough with the old fogey. On to the game report.

Ryan led off with an easy grounder to the pitcher, who tossed to first for the easy out. Oh no, this is what happened last night (meek grounders to infielders, especially pitchers). I even heard Coach Rodney say "This is getting old". To which the parents in the stands replied "No, YOU"RE getting old!!". Blake followed with a slow roller to second -- this time Blake *barely* beat the throw at first. Andrew then lifted a fly ball, directly to the left fielder, who speared it for the second out. Michael slapped a single just past third base and we had "ducks on the pond" for Anna. Sadly, Anna grounded out to the second baseman. "Boy, this is getting old", muttered Coach Rodney. "No, YOU'RE getting old!" yelled the parents.

In the bottom of the first inning, the first batter lifted a single just over Blake's head at shortstop. The next batter cracked a sharp grounder to third base. B.J. is a master of the hot corner, and calmly scooped the ball and *fired* a strike to Anna at first base. Sweet!! A single and a stolen base put a runner on second. The cleanup hitter smacked another one to B.J. at third base. B.J. looked for the tag play on the advancing runner, but B.J.'s quick reaction prevented the runner from moving up. Two batters later, B.J. had the same play, looking for a tag and preventing the runner from advancing to third. Heads-up play around the ol' hot corner, B.J.! A final hit pushed across the fifth run for the Giants. Pirates trail 5-0 after one inning.

In the second, Coach Rodney was looking to play a little "small ball" (scoring runs without big extra base hits). Hayden and Brian each put down a bunt single to give the Pirates runners at first and second with nobody out. B.J. then smashed a ground ball right at the third baseman. The third baseman got the easy fielder's choice, but at least B.J. made him work for it with a hard hit ball. Matthew followed with a groundout to the pitcher. Max slapped a single to shortstop, which plated Brian. Then Christopher grounded meekly to the pitcher. "This is getting old!" moaned Coach Rodney, in apparent agony. "No, YOU'RE getting old" yelled the parents. Coach Rodney gets no respect....

In the bottom of the second inning, the Giants got three hits, which scored one run. The highlight of the inning was the final batter popping up in front of the plate. Andrew blasted out of his crouched catching position, tossed the mask (I think), and gloved the popup. That was a definite hit if Andrew didn't make the play. Good one, Andrew!!

The Pirates head to the third inning down 6-1. After an opening strikeout by Josh B., Josh M. followed with a ground ball, directly to the first baseman. He took only two steps and made the forceout. "YOU'RE getting old!!" yelled the Pirate fans. "Hey, I didn't say anything!!", griped Coach Rodney. Time for a little two-out rally! Ryan and Blake got infield hits off the second baseman. Since we don't have video replay of the event, we can assume that these were smash hits at the second baseman. Andrew followed with a no-doubt-about-it smash-o-rama off the third baseman's leg. That scored both Ryan and Blake. A final strikeout ended the scoring. Pirates get two.

In the bottom of the third, the Giants were back to the top of their order. The leadoff hitter hit one up the middle. Brian snagged it from his pitcher position, and fired on to Anna for the out. Greedy Brian also gobbled up a slow roller down the first base line and quickly released the ball in time to get the speedy batter for the second out. Two hits scored one run. Then Ryan fielded a grounder at deep shortstop. He chunked it way across the diamond to an outstretched Anna for the final out. After three innings, the Pirates trail 7-3.

In the Pirates' fourth inning, Anna led off with a grounder to shortstop. The tough little Giants shortstop tossed out Anna at first base. Hayden followed with another bunt single. Brian got a single off the pitcher (whew!, that was close). A double steal and a passed ball scored Hayden. B.J. then lifted a soft fly ball to the hole between shortstop and third. The quick shortstop caught the fly ball and tossed on to third to double up Brian. I don't think Brian thought the play was gonna be that close. Oh well. One more run makes it a 7-4 game. Time to hold 'em!

The Giants first batter struck out. Then the next batter smacked a grounder to B.J. at third base. B.J. made a nice play and threw to first. Coach Rodney celebrates as B.J. makes another great play! What? Oh, the runner is safe, as the throw just barely pulled Michael off the bag. The next batter hit a grounder to the pitcher (apparently, we're not the only team doing that). Andrew made the easy play, gloving the grounder and throwing to Michael at first base. Another batter hit a grounder to Blake at second. Blake quickly threw to Michael to get the speedy batter. That ended the inning. No runs score! The Pirates still have a chance, trailing 7-4. We need some offense!!

In the top of the fifth, Matthew struck out and Christopher grounded out to the pitcher. "This is surely getting old", groaned Coach Rodney. "Aw, BE QUIET" yelled the unruly fans. And then as an afterthought, "Oh yeah, you're OLD too!". Josh B. followed with a two out dink in front of the plate. That's just as good as a bunt. Coach Rodney thought that was pretty effective, so he went for some more "small ball", having Josh M. put down a bunt. Back to the top of the order! And Ryan (oh no) grounds right back to the pitcher. It's another easy out. Coach Rodney, can I get a comment? Sorry, Coach Rodney is unavailable. He's hitting his head against the dugout.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Giants score 5. Defensive highlights included Michael fielding a bunt and chunking to Anna at first base for the out. Ryan had another sweet assist from shortstop to first base on a grounder by the leadoff hitter. And Michael ended the inning by fielding another grounder at pitcher, and tossing to Anna for the third out. The Pirates are looking at a tough situation, down 8 runs.

In the sixth inning, a new team came to the plate. No, this wasn't the Pirates of the last two games. This was the old Pirates!! ~~ Hey, I know who the real OLD Pirate is. Ha Ha. To which Coach Rodney replied "Watch it, you old parrot. I can replace you with a simple keystroke." OK, never mind. ~~~ Back to the last-inning rally. Blake led off with a double to right center field. Then Andrew hit a single right up the middle. Michael followed with a single off the shortstop (man, he made a nice play though). Anna fooled everyone with her reputation for power and cranked one about 5 to 6 feet in front of the plate. Hayden followed with a single. Brian hit into a fielder's choice. B.J. hit another one down the third base line for a single. Then Matthew got a single. Chris followed with (another) grounder to the pitcher. Hey, find another fielder! We *know* the pitcher can make the play. Josh B. ended the inning with a strikeout. The Pirates score 6!! That's more like the Pirates we know and love!

Final score was 12-10, with the Giants coming out on top. Coach Rodney looked to the strong defense of B.J. at third base for today's player of the game honors. B.J. knocked down everything that came his way, made heads-up plays, and threw bullets to first base. B.J. is settling in nicely to the hot corner. And he is a very deserving Pirate Pick for today's game. Way to go, B.J.!

And what's this? The unruly fans, who teased Coach Rodney all game long, help lead a chorus of Happy Birthday for Coach Rodney. And a cupcake? Coach Rodney has another tear in his eye... Thanks guys! Nothing's better than a baseball game to keep you feeling young. All is forgiven. And let's play a top-notch game next time!!

Captain "Long Gone" Homer