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Silver Pirates win five of six to open season

The Perham Silver Pirates are off to a hot start taking five of six games in league play.

The Silver Pirates picked up their fifth straight win of the season with a come from behind 4-1 victory last Thursday over Fergus Falls.

The Ancients took a 1-0 lead in the third inning as they strung together three of their six hits and added a base on balls. The lead held up until the sixth inning when Jason McClellan got a one out walk and scored on a Jim Nelson single.

In the last frame, Ron Litzau walked, stole second and was chased home on a Jim Belfiori single for the go ahead run. Steve Sheets and Gary Lackey scored insurance runs as they both walked and scored on an errant throw.

Web Gem: Steve Sheets turned in the defensive play of the game as he made a diving catch from his centerfield position for the third out of the fourth inning with an Ancient runner headed for the plate.

Player of the game: Jim Belfiori caught a solid game, collected one of the four Pirate hits which drove in the winning run in the seventh.

Greg Schmid picked up his third mound victor of the season as he scattered six hits while walking two and striking out three.

The Silver Pirates four base hits went to Larry Mollins, Jim Nelson, Ron Litzau and Belfiori with the game winner!

The only loss of the season came against the Menahga Relics. The Relics outlasted the Pirates in a 6-4 contest last Friday night at Krueger field. The Relics took a 2-1 lead in the second with a pair of base hits and a walk as Pirate hurler Jon Kotaska struck out the side but the damage was already done. Perham scored their run with base hits from Kotaska, Gary Grewe and Gary Lackey, with Lackey's single scoring Ron Litzau who had walked.

Perham tied the score in the fourth as Grewe singled and scored on a Steve Sheets fly ball to the centerfielder.

The Relics took control of the game in the final frame as they scored three runs on four hits and a walk. The Pirates tried to come back in the bottom of the seventh as Brad Kempe was hit by a pitch, Larry Mollins walked, Jason McClellan singled and Tony Stoll singled home Kempe and Mollins before things stalled and the Silver Pirates tasted defeat for the first time this season.

Web Gem: Gary Grewe gets the nod from his first base position as he dove to his right, made a neat backhand grab and tossed the ball to pitcher Jon Kotaska while laying on his side "what a play."

Player of the game: Tony Stoll started a double play in the first inning from his shortstop position, handled four chances and went three for four at the plate with two RBI's in the seventh.

Jon Kotaska took a rare mound loss giving up eight hits, two walks, a pair of hit batsman but a solid nine strikeouts. Kotaska had just defeated the Relics 7-0 in a recent outing.

The Pirates also had eight hits, as they were led by Stoll with three, Gary Grewe with two and singles by McClellan, Kotaska and Lackey.

Carlos is a nice addition to the Northwest Minnesota League. They have a solid team and a beautiful field to play on, as they have hosted a number of state tournaments.

Carlos entered the game with a close, lone loss to rival Alexandria. The Silver Pirates struck first and early as Jason McClellan led off with a walk and promptly stole second before Jim Nelson spanked a double to chase McClellan to the plate.

The Silver lads added two more in the second on walks by Greg Schmid and Erin Anderson before Gary Lackey singled to plate Schmid. McClellan then sent a sacrifice fly to left to score Anderson and the score was 3-0.

Carlos got on the board in the third as they got their first free pass followed by three singles.

Lackey led off the fourth with a single but went down on a fielder's choice before McClellan singled and came home on an RBI single by Jeremy Kovash.

A base on balls to lead off the fourth would turn out to be Carlos second run of the game. The walk was followed by a hit batter, a single, another walk and the score was 4-2 in favor of Perham.

The Pirates scored a much needed run in the sixth as McClellan opened with a single, stole second and scampered home on a solid single by Ron Litzau to put the score at 5-2 heading into the Carlos sixth.

Carlos came back with two runs on a walk and a pair of singles to set up a dramatic seventh inning finish.

With the Silver Pirates up 5-4 heading into the bottom of the seventh a bizarre finish was about to unfold. Lackey set down the lead off hitter with a strikeout. Catcher Jim Nelson made a diving foul catch for the second out. Then the number nine hitter hit a deep fly to center, which was lost in the lights and he settled on second. The lead off hitter promptly lined a single to right where Erin Anderson made a nice catch and throw to the relay man who whirled and fired the ball home in an attempt to nip the runner coming home from second-base.

The throw caught the lip of the turf and popped over catcher Nelson's head (at this point it seemed the air had come out of the Pirates sails) but Lackey had gone from his pitching position to back up home plate and that is exactly what he did.

Lackey snatched the ball and barreled into the runner nipping him before he got to the plate. The Pirates had held on for the hard fought victory and stand at 6-1 mid-way through the season

Web gem: Schmid made a diving catch in left - McClellan ranged deep into the hole at short and nailed a "whitecap" runner - Nelson made the diving catch at home plate and Lackey did his job backing up home plate (four in one game isn't bad).

Player of the game: Gary Lackey pitched a complete game - he ended the bases loaded third inning with two strikeouts - he ended the bases loaded fourth with a strikeout - he was two for four at the plate with an RBI - and he played his position by the book to get the game ending out and seal the victory.

The prior week, the Silver Pirates defeated the Urbank Goldtimers 12-1 in five innings and Menahga 7-0.

The Silver Pirates next outing will be at Al Kruger field Thursday evening, July 1 at 8 p.m. They host the Fergus Falls Ancients.