Pirates vs. Reds
May 19, 2001

W 18-2

The Pirates closed out the regular season in style today. On a hot-but-thank-goodness-there's-clouds kind of day, the Pirates and the Reds squared off.

The Pirates were the visiting team and sent Ryan to the plate to start things off. After a few foul balls, Ryan eventually fell on strikes. Yikes! That's unusual. Andrew got on with a hard hit single to the left side of the infield. Blake followed with a hit right off the pitching machine, and Anna got an infield single to load the bases. Brian stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and one out. And Brian lashes a clean line drive single to center field! That scores two! Max followed with a groundout to second base. That moved Anna to third and Brian to second. B.J. calmly dug in and ripped a hit to right center field, scoring two more! Can you believe B.J. hit to the opposite field? Hayden chopped a single towards shortstop that he legged out for a hit. Then Matthew ended the inning with a fielder's choice grounder to the shortstop. Pirates get 4.

In the bottom of the first, the first Reds batter struck out. The next batter grounded sharply to shortstop. Brian fielded it smoothly and fired a rocket to Michael at first base. Out!! Sweet-looking play, Brian! The third batter (the toughest Reds hitter) hit a line drive right at Brian. Actually, the ball struck the ground first and Brian fielded it on the short hop. Yes! And Brian comes up firing -- the throw's on target, but we have a little problem finding the base with the foot. The batter's safe...but the crowd goes wild on another stellar defensive play by Brian. The next batter hit a double down the third base line, hitting the bag as it scooted into left field. That put runners at second and third with two outs. The fifth batter lifted a soft fly ball to Brian at shortstop. He squeezed it for the third out.... and just for good measure, ran to second base to double up the runner who had left early. OK, that's 4 outs! Oh, that's one too many...... Wow!! What an excellent defensive inning!! Pirates lead 4-0 after one inning of play.

In the top of the second, Michael led off with a double to left center field. Coach Rodney had him steal on the next pitch. Michael hurried into third. The throw was wide, so Michael took off for home! No play at the plate -- Michael's safe. Josh M. then grounded towards the shortstop. But the pitcher makes the play, a nice grab of the high hop, and fired on to first to nip Josh M.. After a strikeout, Josh B. grounded out to the third baseman. Pirates score one, thanks to Michael's speed.

In the bottom of the second, the first Reds batter dug in. Coach Rodney tried (rather unsuccessfully) to move the whole Pirates infield and outfield to the right side. The big lefty *always* goes to the right side. But this time he struck out. The next guy got a triple to left center field. OK, it should have been a single, but we misplayed it into two more bases. The next batter lined out to Michael at first base. After the catch, the guy from third tagged up and tried to come home. The throw eventually went from Josh M. at third base to Andrew at the plate. Perfect toss... perfect tag! Three outs! Pirates lead 5-0 after two.

In the top of the third, Ryan led off with a high popup in the infield that the pitcher, first baseman, and second baseman couldn't decide who should catch it. Of course, Ryan stole second base and third base. Andrew followed with a line drive single to left center field to score Ryan. Blake was up next. Just get a nice line drive! And {CRACK} Blake delivers a beautiful line drive to right field. The ball's got some speed 'cause Blake hit it real hard. It went all the way to the fence. Andrew scored from first.... and Coach Rodney's waving Blake home! A stand-up home run!! Blake takes the team lead in home runs this season!! The crowd goes crazy.... the dugout goes crazy, congratulating Blake. After the celebration died down, Anna got a single to right field. Way to go to the opposite field! Brian followed with a fielder's choice to shortstop. The Reds get the out at second. Max then grounded to the pitcher for the second out. B.J. got a single to the hole at shortstop. Then Hayden lined out right to the second baseman. Pirates get four more! And then in the bottom of the third, all three Reds batters went down on strikes. Ouch! (for them). Can you believe the Pirates have held the Reds scoreless through three innings?!!

In the top of the fourth, Matthew led off with a grounder to the shortstop. Their shortstop made another great play -- the Reds' defense has looked pretty solid this game.... and the Pirates *are* hitting the ball hard. Michael followed with a flare single just over the third baseman's head. And then Michael stole second. Josh M. put down a fantastic bunt for a single. And Michael moved up to third. Chris got a single to right field to score Michael. Then Chris was cut down at second when Josh B. hit into a fielder's choice. But that scored Josh M.!! Ryan ended the scoring by hitting into a fielder's choice. Pirates get two more.

In the bottom of the fourth, the first two Reds got hits. After a strikeout, the next batter popped up to Josh M. at third base. Another hit scored two, and the final batter grounded out to Anna (unassisted) at first base. Reds get two and we head to the fifth inning with the Pirates leading 11-2.

In the top of the fifth, Andrew grounded to shortstop. The shortstop made a fine play and tossed Andrew out at first. Blake popped the ball up foul, which the catcher snagged for the second out. Anna got a single up the middle and Brian grounded out. No runs come across.

In the bottom of the fifth, the leadoff Reds batter grounded to Brian , who was playing pitcher. And Brian, with a nice play, turned and fired on to Anna for the out. OK, the notes get a little sketchy now. I'm pretty sure Brian turned another out from pitcher. The bottom line is that the inning ended with the Pirates once more shutting down the Reds offense. On to the sixth with the Pirates up 11-2.

In the sixth inning, Max led off with a single to right center field. B.J. followed with a single to left center field. And then Hayden laid down a nice bunt to load the bases. Matthew slapped one back up the middle, off the pitcher's glove and the shortstop's glove. Then Michael put the pitch right back up the middle -- and he hit the machine! That's a dead ball single. I think Michael was aiming at the Coach pitcher, Chris (Anna's big brother). "That's ok, Michael", said Josh M., as he dug in for a pitch. "I'll get him!" Sure enough, Josh M. plunked Coach Chris in the leg. Another dead ball single... Chris followed with a double and scored two! Josh B. lifted a fly ball to the third baseman, who squeezed it for the first out. Ryan stepped up and {SMACK} hit a line drive double to center field. Andrew ended the rally with a groundout to the third baseman. Pirates get 7!!

The Reds had one more crack at the Pirates. They loaded the bases with nobody out. After a strikeout, the next batter hit a fly ball to left field. Hayden zoomed in from left field and made the circus catch to rob the hitter!! The next batter lifted a fly ball to right field, where Blake camped under it for the third out. That's ballgame! Pirates win 18-2!!

What a way to end the regular season! The Pirates take a 3-game winning streak into the playoffs! This game definitely calls for a party. I know, let's go over to Coach Rodney's house and have a party. Yeah baby!! The last order of business is to announce the player of the game. Coach Rodney forgot to tell the guys at the game (and later at the party). But Coach Rodney chose Brian as tonight's Pirate Pick for his clutch defense at shortstop and pitcher. Plus Brian got an awesome line drive hit to score the first two Pirates runs of the game. You stepped it up big time, Brian. Great game!

Captain "Long Gone" Homer