After defeating the A’s Tuesday at Shirley Winston Park in Columbus, the Fort Benning Pirates are tied with the Red Sox at 6-1 for first place in the 11-and 12-year-old Sally Little League baseball, A-ball division.
The Pirates, an off-post Child, Youth and School Services team, got off to a quick start in the top of the first inning with a Max Ashe RBI single to lead 1-0. Pirates pitcher Ashe kept the A’s scoreless to end the first.Keith Hudson got an RBI triple in the top of the second inning to increase the Pirates’ lead to 2-0, while Ashe held the A’s to a base hit in the bottom of the second.
The Pirates racked up five runs in the third inning, with RBIs from Ashe, Jacob Johnson, Nic O’Steen and Andrew Sargent to increase their lead to 7-0. The A’s cut the deficit to 7-3 in the bottom of the third with an RBI double from Jerald Jackson.
A’s pitcher Jackson pitched a perfect inning in the top of the fourth, and with a Tony Garrett RBI and a run from Bruce Huff on a fielding error by the pitcher, the A’s rallied to within one run of the Pirates.
The Pirates capitalized on errors in the fourth inning, scoring three runs on passed balls to lead 10-6, while Pirates pitcher Nick Hunter shut down the A’s with a three-up, three-down, bottom half of the inning. The Pirates added six more runs to seal a 16-6 win.
“We played good ball — we kept the bats going and had good defense,” said Pirates assistant coach Patrick Hudson. “It was definitely a nail-biter … got close for a minute. If we lost this game, the Red Sox would have been first in the division.”
The Pirates’ 12-year-old left-fielder Keith Hudson said he was nervous when the score was close.
“I was worried when the score was 7-6,” he said. “I thought, ‘oh my gosh, they might beat us.’ After we got a bigger lead, I felt better about the game. We worked together more as team rather than just showing off.”Hunter said the team struggled in the first part of the game, but came back in the end.
“We beat the team that was the best team in the Sally League (Red Sox) in our last game and coach told us not to let it get to our heads, but we let it get to us in the third inning …. the game against the A’s was exciting all around,” Hunter said. “We were down at first, but put up six runs in the sixth inning.”
Up next for the Pirates is Team National A-Ball at 4 p.m. Saturday and the A’s will take on the Raiders at 4 p.m. Saturday. Both games are at Shirley Winston Park.