Rangers Prevail In Pitcher's Duel On Opening Day
Written by: Randy Ranger
Sunday, May 2, 2010
The Rangers celebrated CELL opening day ceremonies Saturday at Plaisted and then took the field against the Pirates and one of the best pitchers in the state in what turned out to be a classic pitcher's duel. Facing fast and accurate pitching from the Pirate's starter, the Rangers scrapped their way through five innings and entered the sixth inning locked in a scoreless tie thanks to some mastery on the mound from Rangers' ace Nate who matched his pitching adversary pitch for pitch. The Rangers defense played errorless ball with highlights being two great catches in center by Ross and some stellar play by Brett who ended an Pirates threat with a nice pop-up catch, completed an inning-ending catch and tag strike-'em-out/throw-'em-out double play at third on a perfect throw from catcher Matt, and calmly fielded a grounder and threw to first base to end the game with two Pirates on base. Nate, a.k.a. Houdini(for his uncanny ability to escape jams), struck out ten for the win and Nat, a.k.a. Mariano, closed out the game in the sixth for his second save of the year.
The offense was sparse given the stellar Pirates' pitching, but some gutty at-bats in the first five innings by Ross and Sean, who fouled off multiple pitches before reaching on an infield hit, helped run up the pitch count and give the young Rangers team some life setting the stage for the top of the sixth. In the pivotal sixth inning, Matt led off with a single and Nat followed with a two strike single to center to advance the go-ahead run to second. A gutsy double steal by coach Ingalls put two runners in scoring position, and when a wild pitch went to the backstop, Matt scampered home from third to put the Rangers on top 1-0. Brett then put the ball into play and Nat raced home for an insurance run and a 2-0 Rangers lead. Nat then took the ball and closed out the game for the Rangers' second victory in as many games. They will look to continued success next Saturday versus the Phillies.