|The Pirates faced their final NL opponent
tonight, the Reds. The Pirates will be playing
every team again, but it's nice to play everyone
once. Coach Rodney was concerned tonight -- he
was afraid the Pirates might get "the
blues" by playing the hungry Reds. So Coach
Rodney took a couple minutes before the game to
remind the Pirates how important it is to *play*
the game. No one gets awarded a win just because
they won their last game!
So the Pirates took
the field as the home team. After a couple
leadoff Reds hits, the next batter struck out.
The cleanup hitter next hit a smash to Hayden at
second. Hayden calmly flipped the ball to
shortstop Ryan covering second for the force. A
final strikeout ended the top of the Reds first
inning. No runs scored.
The Pirates got their first swings in the
bottom of the first. Blake hit a beautiful line
drive to right field. OH WOW! The first baseman
went horizontal and made a leaping grab of
Blake's ball! The ball dribbled out of his glove
on contact with the ground, but he quickly made
the putout at first. Gulp! Ryan followed with a
hit and a stolen base. The next batter was
Andrew, who tagged one straight to the shortstop.
The shortstop would probably have thrown to
first, but "Wheels" was putting the ol'
dance moves on him. Ryan was off the base enough
to draw the shortstop's attention, but Ryan
boogied back to second as the shortstop tried to
make a play on him. Everyone's safe! Brian then
got an infield hit which scored the Pirates first
run. Anna hit into a fielder's choice (Andrew's
out at third). Michael followed with an
opposite-field hit to left, plating Brian. Max
got an infield hit, bringing in 2 runs when the
pitcher made a bad throw. Finally, Matthew lifted
a strong single to right center. That scored Max
from second! Five runs in!
In the second inning, the Reds got a few hits
and the Pirates helped by kinda throwing the ball
around. Fortunately for the Pirates, the Reds had
three strikeouts. The Reds scored three, closing
the Pirates lead to 5-3.
In the bottom of the second, the Pirates got a
nice little rally. After a leadoff strikeout,
Hayden singled and Joshua M. put down a great
bunt. Coach Rodney was looking for a double
steal, but Joshua B. missed the sign (aaargh!).
Josh put down a great bunt himself -- that loaded
the bases with one out. Chris got an infield hit
and got 2 RBIs! We headed back to the top of the
order. Blake grounded out, and that brought up
Wheels. Ryan smacked one up the middle, off the
pitcher's glove. Can you believe that the Reds'
second baseman made a highlight play, catching
the ricochet and throwing out the speedy Ryan at
first base. Yikes! Oh well. Pirates score 2 and
head to the third inning up 7-3.
The Reds had a fabulous third inning. The
Pirates had a pretty miserable third inning
(well, at least it looked that way to the Pirates
coaching staff). The Reds got a lot of hits, and
the Pirates weren't really able to capitalize on
opportunities to make outs. Josh B. made a sweet
play to nip a batter at first base. It was a
bang-bang play, and we got the call. The Reds
wouldn't stop. They scored five.
Time for the Pirates to gut out some runs.
Andrew led off the bottom of the third with a
super double to right center field. Brian
followed with a perfect bunt single. Anna got an
infield hit, and Michael ripped a double to right
field. Coach Rodney got greedy and had Michael
stealing third. The catcher cut him down like a
side of beef in a meat locker. Of course, Michael
(aka "Crash") went in hard. OK, I guess
it looked like a slide!! Luckily for Coach
Rodney, the Pirates really picked him up. Max
smacked a double to right field and Matthew got a
single to right center. That brought up B.J..
Sure enough, B.J. hit his patented hard ground
ball to third base. Max was running hard and
scored. B.J. and Matthew were safe too. Finally,
Hayden got a hit to the left side of the infield
to score the fifth run. Pirates recapture the
On to the fourth inning. The Pirates sure
needed some clutch defense. A swinging bunt had
Hayden hopping out from behind the plate, but he
couldn't quite get the play at first. Then after
a strikeout, the leadoff hitter hit a hard one
straight at Brian at shortstop. Brian didn't
hesitate. He ran to the second base bag, got the
forceout, and fired on to first for a possible
double play. No chance there though. Heads up
"clutch" defense, Brian! The next
batter tried to start a 2-out rally. And the
runner from first is taking off to second for the
steal! Hayden comes up throwing -- he threw a
frozen rope to second base (baseball lingo alert
-- that means a straight line drive throw). Brian
is in perfect position to accept the throw. And
apply the tag!! Yerrrrrrrrrrr OUT! The Pirates
defense comes through again! And Brian shows why
he's worthy of the nickname "Clutch"!
In the bottom of the Pirates fourth inning,
Joshua M. led off with a single to center field.
Joshua B. followed his namesake with a bunt
single. It was an excellent sacrifice bunt --
they got "Gumbo" out, but
"Montana" moved up to second. Chris
lifted a fly ball to first base for the second
out. Time for a two-out rally! Blake got a single
to the right side. Then Ryan followed with a
single. "Droofus" (that's Andrew)
followed his single and his double from his first
two plate appearances with a triple! Maybe we
should have called him Wheels!! Brian follows
with his third straight hit, a single which
scored Andrew. A final strikeout ended the rally.
But the Pirates score 5 and take a more
commanding 16-8 lead.
In the fifth inning, the toughest Reds hitter
hit a smash in the hole at shortstop. From deep
in the hole, Ryan fields it on the backhand side,
straightens and fires to the tall Anna at first.
Ooooh, the runner just barely beat it out. Super
looking play Ryan! For the next batter, the
Pirates turned their first double play of the
season. The batter struck out and the runner was
stealing. Not so fast, Mr. Red! Andrew and Ryan
have a little something to show you. Andrew
chucks the ball down to Ryan -- the ball and the
runner arrive at basically the same time. Because
Ryan is in good position, he is able to make the
tag. Out! Finally, the last batter hits a slow
roller to Brian at pitcher. "Clutch"
simply fields it, steps away from the machine,
and tosses on to Anna for the final out. Again,
the Pirates defense is amazing!
In the bottom of the fifth, Coach Rodney was
hoping for a few more runs to put the game out of
reach. Michael and Max got singles. After a
strikeout, B.J. scored Michael from third, as he
hit a routine ground ball to the pitcher. A final
strikeout ended the scoring. Pirates notch
another run to make it 17-8.
Incredibly, we played another half inning. The
Reds got three more runs. The defensive highlight
was a garden-variety unassisted putout at first
base by Blake. Well, no need for the Pirates to
bat. Game over! Pirates win 17-11!
The kids were sure living up to their
nicknames tonight, especially Wheels, Crash, and
Clutch. Coach Rodney kept it in the family
tonight, tapping Brian as the Pirate Pick
for his 3-for-3 at the plate, and especially for
his "clutch" putouts in the fourth and
fifth innings. That totally shut down a threat
from the Big Red Machine. Way to go, Clutch!!