The Insurance Mart Pirates team faced a tougher challenge, but enjoyed it more, on Thursday, June 12, in a Majors division Little League game between Jefferson County Little League teams.
Coaches for the Pirates preferred being challenged by the Warm Springs team in the intra-league game to a high-scoring game than they'd been a couple days earlier.
"This kind of game is a lot more fun," noted Jay Roth, one of the Pirates coaches, after the players had to stay focused to keep ahead of Warm Springs in what turned out to be a relatively low-scoring 4-1 win.
Starting pitcher Turner Gill couldn't get out of the way of a ball hit back at him by one of Warms Springs players in the first inning and changed his spot in the field for the Pirates as his leg was slightly injured.
Warm Springs failed to score in the first inning, however, and was shut down until the sixth, and final, inning by Josh Roth in relief of Gill.
By throwing plenty of strikes and giving up only rare hits himself, Warm Springs pitcher Stefan Sutterlee kept Warm Springs close. Though the Pirates scored once in the first inning and twice in the second inning, the green and gold A's of Warm Springs kept the contest close.
The Pirates' second-inning scoring was started by Gill. He worked his way around the bases when some hard throws proved too tough for Warm Springs catcher Trevor Suppah to stop. Later in the inning, though, Suppah stopped the ball well enough to retrieve it and throw out a Pirate runner trying to steal home and expand his team's lead after Roth scored the Pirates second run.
Curtis Thompson Jr. advanced to third for Warm Springs after a solid single in his team's third yet was left stranded. Contact by Richard Wolfe, Jr. and Charles Wolfe almost scored Thompson Jr. for Warm Springs. It fell a little short. Layton Pennington forced a play to be made on his grounder for Warm Springs, but the Pirates were equal to the task.
Thompson getting to third proved as well as Warm Springs would do until the final inning, when Sutterlee picked up his second hit and eventually came home, advanced first by Thompson and then Martin Smith.
Despite Tyrell Smith at shortstop and Martin Smith in left proving unable to beat a looping single by Gill to the ground, Martin Smith turned in another good defensive play for Warm Springs that sidetracked a potential Pirate score. Gill was gunned down trying to get to second on that hit in the fifth.
Leonard American Horse and Leslie Robinson, along with Rabe Clements also gave solid efforts coming off the bench trying to help Warm Springs beat the Pirates, only to fall short.
The Austin Greene-coached team also dealt with Albert Kalama and Henry Luton not making it to the game. An injury or two kept some of the Warm Springs back ups from getting into the game for an extended period, but they each appeared, as required by league rule.
Thompson fouled off pitches three different times in the top of the sixth for Warm Springs before singling to right field and giving his teammates chances to pull closer. The Pirates proved to have just enough defense, though, to stifle that Warm Springs threat.
Sutterlee kept the Pirates from gaining a bigger lead early by combining his strikeouts and pitches that drew swings resulting in meager ground outs.
Both teams were expecting to be strongly represented on the all-star team for the Majors that are being named late this week.