Senators Nearly Shutout Pirates Again, Even Season Series

Box Score

July 7, 2009
By Alex Buscemi

FAIRFAX, Va. — Over the course of the season, the Senators have developed a rivalry with the Carney Pirates. The Pirates, who are second place in the league with a record of 15 and 7, trail behind the first place Senators who are 19 and 5. The two teams have gone head to head five times before, the Senators winning two of those games and the Pirates winning three, which makes the Senators 7-1 victory over the Pirates tonight that much sweeter.

“It was a workman-like win,” said Manager Chris Burr, “Nobody was a standout, but as a team we did good which is how I like it.”

Starting on the mound for the Senators was Branden Weber, a lefty from Florida Southern College. Weber kept the Pirate bats at bay, allowing no hits in the three innings he pitched. The bullpen got a workout with six different pitchers taking the field. The pitching staff allowed only four hits from the Pirates, but got a lot of help from the defense behind them as there were only three strikeouts. The Pirates didn’t score their first and only run until the bottom of the ninth: John Ralston’s hit to shortstop which allowed Rob Lamas to score unearned off of a fielder’s choice. It was their first run scored on the Senators in 19.2 innings, dating back to when they played on June 29th and the Senators won 11-0.

In the first two innings the Senators were also hitless, mostly because of some impressive, all-out-hustle plays made by the Pirate defense. In the first inning, Pirate shortstop John Ralston had a gorgeous over the shoulder diving catch to keep Ryan Court’s shot from dropping between center and second. In the second inning, lefty pitcher Chris Yates took a bullet hit by Ty Wiesemeyer to the body only to recover and make the play at first to end the inning and keep Devin Walker from scoring. Except for two errors, the Pirates continued to showcase their finesse in the field throughout the night. Another highlight was third baseman Mike Snyder’s play in the third, scooping up a grounder to make the play at first while dodging the shrapnel from John Barrett’s shattered bat.

It wasn’t until the fourth inning that the Senators started to crack the Pirate defense. Up first, Kurt Lipton walked. After both John Barrett and Jamie Bruno struck out, Devin Walker advanced Lipton to third with a booming double hit deep into left field. Then Wiesemeyer singled to center field bringing home Walker and Lipton.

The Senator bats stayed hot throughout the rest of the night, especially in the fifth inning as Yates began to show fatigue. Nick Kuroczko’s single to center field brought home Austin Booker, who was walked and then advanced to second on a wild pitch. After Kuroczko stole second, Lipton doubled down the left field line and Kuroczko scored. Then the Pirates called Torey Mancari, another lefty, to the mound to take over for Yates. Mancari, fresh on the field, struggled throughout the inning. Next up was Walker with his second hit of the night, driving home Lipton and advancing a walked Bruno to third. Then Bruno took a free jog home with a balk. The Senators wouldn’t score again until the ninth when Tony Mitchell knocked a grounder between the legs of the first baseman and Kuroczko, who was on base after being hit by a pitch, scored unearned as a result.

“Offense took what they gave us,” Burr said, “We cashed in on some big opportunities.”

The win is a big one for the Senators. The middle of the season is when things really get going in this league, and teams look for that edge to separate themselves from the pack.

“This is the week that’s most important, teams start to fade and teams start to stand out,” said Burr, “If we improve the intensity daily we’ll be a team that stands out.”