Dateline: Fox Mill 2
The Reston Royals came into Fox Mill riding high after their big win. Warmups went better than they have all season. Coach Grossman asked if the guys were ready to play and he was pleasantly startled when everyone loudly said YES! The Pirates came in undefeated and Coach Grossman and Coach Neilson (head coach of the Pirates) have had many great matchups over the years.
Eric hit a hard single to lead things off. Matt walked to put runners at first and second with no outs. Alec grounded out to first but the runners moved to third and second. A wild pitch scored Eric. Matt stole third, but the inning ended before he could score. Leading by a run Justin strolled confidently to the mound. He had some control problems and after four walks and a single resulted in a couple of runs, he settled down for a big strikeout. After another walk, Coach Grossman came out and went to his deep bullpen and brought in Jake. Jake ended the inning after a couple of wild pitches on a ground ball to Eric at short as the base runner on second interfered with Eric’s attempt at the ball. The runner was correctly called out and the inning ended. After one it was Pirates 6 Royals 1.
In the second, the Royals went down quietly. Coach Grossman brought in Eric and he threw heat. He struck out the first batter he faced on three pitches. A leadoff single to left and a rare 3-2 walk by Eric put runners on at first and second. A single to right scored a run and an infield error scored another run. Eric settled down for a big strikeout. With two outs Eric picked up a key final strikeout. After two it was Pirates 10 Royals 1.
In the top of the third, with two outs, Danny walked. He took a great lead off of first but the Pirates fired down to try to pick him off. The ball got past the first baseman, the right fielder backed up the play and fired to the second baseman. Danny got in a rundown and did a nice job, but was out by a step as he slid into second. In the bottom of the third, Eric returned to the mound and regained his usual dominance. He struck out two and got the last batter to hit a popup behind second where Alec drifted back and made a great catch for out three.
In the fourth, the Royals got some offense going with a leadoff walk to Eric, He stole second and moved to third on a ground out to short. Alec came grounded out to short and picked up the RBI as Eric scored. Nihal drilled a single,but he was left on base. Matt came on in the fourth and looked sharp. He gave up a singled and a double to score a run. The next batter popped out to Alec at short for out one. A doubled resulted in another run. A walk put a runner on first and the next batter hit a hard grounder to Danny at second who quickly flipped to Eric for out one and the Royals missed a double play by only a step. Matt struck out the next batter for out three. Two runs scored so after four it was 12-2 Pirates.
Nick walked in the fifth and Jake hit a hard shot to first but the first baseman made a nice play and fired to second to get the lead runner. Justin grounded into a fielders choice at second for out three. Matt pitched an excellent fifth with three quick strikeouts. Jordyn led off the Royals sixth with a hard single. Eric beat out an infield hit to put runners on at first and second. A wild pitch put runners on at third and second. Matt bunted perfectly and the Pirates made a nice play to get him at first by a step. Jordyn tried to score from third, but he was out at the plate to end the game.
Coach Goldstein said, “The Pirates are certainly tough, but our pitchers threw a lot of strikes and I saw some good plays in the field.” Coach Grossman said, “I saw a lot of improvement in the field, but we clearly made too many errors in the field — infield play is getting much better, but our outfield play still needs improvement. We’ll focus more on outfield play in practice on Friday and we’ll be ready for Saturday’s game. I know this weather is going to get a lot colder these final three weeks of the season, but I still think this team is getting better each week. Our fans have been great and I think we’re going to give them something to cheer about in the cold.