The Pirates got off to a bit of a slow start in Monday's Lake Ariel Baseball battle with the Orioles. Coach Todd Pope's club finally got its offense going, though, scoring five runs in each of the final four frames to post a 21-11 victory.

For the first two innings of Monday’s Lake Ariel Little League contest, it looked like the Orioles were on the verge of a huge upset.

The Pirates entered the day all alone atop the Minor League standings with an undefeated record. However, the Orioles erupted for five runs in the bottom of the second to take a 5-1 lead.

It was at this point in the contest that the Pirates began turning things around. With Coach Todd Pope calling the shots, the Bucs exploded for 20 runs in the next four frames, more than enough to win the game and preserve a perfect season.

The final score was 21-11.

“I’m really very lucky,” Coach Pope told TWI Sports afterward. “I’ve been blessed with a really good bunch of kids. They play hard, but they have a lot of fun, too.”

With the win, the Pirates improved their league-best record to 6-0. Th Orioles are 3-5.

On the Field
Alexis Dyer led the way on this particular day for the Pirates.

A talented young infielder who also bats lead-off, Dyer opened the game with a line drive up the middle. She eventually came around to score when “birthday boy” Jesse Booths slapped an RBI single to left center.

Dyer was a one-woman wrecking crew against the Orioles. Alexis ripped five hits, reached base six times and scored five runs. She also played Gold Glove caliber defense in the infield, both as a pitcher and first baseman.

In fact, Dyer started an “unofficial” triple play in the bottom of the fourth.
With the bases loaded and nobody out, Alexis snagged a line drive back through the box. She turned and fired to Matt Wilcom, who stepped on second and relayed to Jake Tinklepaugh at first.

The game came screeching to a halt for a few minutes while coaches, players and fans in the stands tried to sort things out. In the end, both skippers decided to call the batter out and send the runners back to their respective bases.

“At this level, we’re more concerned about teaching the fundamentals and sportsmanship,” Orioles Coach Bryan Gagliardi said. “We want the kids to have a good time and learn the sport.”

TJ Pope, Kenneth Hutchins and Tommy Motichka also contributed to the Pirates’ offensive onslaught, scoring three runs apiece.

Hutchins showed toughness beyond his tender years. Kenneth singled in his first at-bat, but met with disaster on the basepaths. He tried to take third base on an infield grounder and slid hard into the bag.

Hutchins had to leave the game for a couple of innings, but returned in the fourth to rip a basehit and score a run.

Felicity Pope and Luke Lamberton also chipped in with key plays.

Pope snagged two grounders in the fifth and turned them into forces at second. Lamberton shook off a rocky start at the plate by rapping a pair of late-game hits and scoring twice.

Over & Out
The Orioles tried valiantly to stay with the first-place Pirates, but just didn’t have enough offensive firepower.

Noah Kovaleski and Zane “Raz-ma-taz” scored two runs apiece.

Jake Gagliardi and Gavin Lamberton ripped an RBI single each.

Cooper Wash and Bradley Carey also contributed to the Orioles’ cause.

Wash showed power to all fields with a line single to right and a ground single to left.

Carey legged out an infield hit in the fourth, then advanced to third...making it safely thanks to a “textbook” hook slide.

Steve Orchard and Dean Rowley rounded out the Orioles’ attack. Orchard reached base in each of his first two at-bats, while Rowley singled and scored in the bottom of the fourth.

Score by Innings...
Pirates   1  0  5  5  5  5 - 21
Orioles   0  5  0  5  0  1 - 11