Pirates Survive Scare, Advance to SemiFinal in 14-12 Gut-Check
Written by: Steve Fallon
Friday, June 11, 2004
Every championship team faces a moment along the way when they must look into the abyss without blinking. Friday's 14-12 victory was just such a test of courage for the Paramount Pirates as they overcame sloppy play and a scrappy Cub squad to advance to the semifinals of the 2004 Minor American playoff tournament.
The Pirates twice rallied from 5 run deficits using a 13 hit attack and skilled baserunning.
After falling behind 5-0 on sloppy fielding and 5 bases on balls, Alex (3R) walked and Steve(2/3 2R) was hit by a pitch. Jarret (4/4 5RBI) singled in two followed by and RBI single by Conor and the Pirates trailed 5-3.
Three more walks in the top of the second helped the Cubs regain their 5 run cushion 8-3. Chris singled and scored on a wild pitch and after two were out Alex and Steve set the table expertly with a walk and a sharp single. Jarret singled in both runners cutting the lead to 8-6.
After a scoreless top of the third, the Pirates erupted for 5 as Conor and Josh walked scoring on Sean G's single. Sean G, Philip and Alex all scored as the Pirates took their first lead of the night, 11-8.
Strong defensive plays by Conor, Josh, a strike-out/throw-out double play and a spectacular grab in right field by Jacob limited the Cubs to just 1 run through the 3rd, 4th and 5th while the Pirates used smart baserunning to steal runs in the fourth and fifth leading 14-9 after 5.
Sean L., Jarret and Steve combined for the victory yielding just 3 hits while striking out 10. The old bugaboo of walks reared it's head as Pirate pitchers issued 11 free passes 7 of which eventually came around to score.
Steve pitched a strong sixth but was victimized by more sloppy play in the field as the Cubs rallied with 3 in the sixth before the Pirates shut the door with a put-out on a passed ball a strikeout and a groundball back to the pitcher.
"The boys battled back like champions on a night when then didn't play their best ball", said the coach. "They should be proud of their comeback and surviving to play another day."
The Pirates advance to the semifinal game monday night against the Brewers upset winners against the Royals in a playoff tournament filled with surprises.
Cubs 530103 12
Pirates 33521x 14
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