It wasn't a normal day of baseball for Dale Monday.
The No. 3 Pirates entered the game with a 3-0 record and an offense that was running on all cylinders. On Monday, the temperature was over 90 on the first day of spring, the south wind was whipping around the park, every ball that was mishit found a hole and the balls that were hit hard went directly to Latta defenders.
In the end, the Pirates took their first loss of the year in a 10-5 decision to the No. 4 Panthers in Latta.
Blake McQuain got his first start of the year for Dale. He had worked in a closer role in the first few games. He deserved a better fate Monday. He left in the third inning with no outs with six runs counting against him.
McQuain made it through the first inning without a run, but the second inning didn't go as well. He walked the leadoff hitter in the second after a pop-up was dropped in foul ground. Another error and a passed ball put runners on second and third. That's when Austin Releford blasted a 3-run home run for the Panthers.
Another Panther single turned into a run after another Pirate miscue.
On offense, the Pirates got off to an interesting and promising start. McQuain reached base on an infield single and Cooper Hunt's bunt was misplayed. Courtesy runner Andrew Lewis scored on a passed ball, staking Dale to an early lead.
Scout Capps ripped a line drive later in the inning but it flew straight to the right fielder. A strikeout ended the first-inning threat for Dale,
In the top of the third, the Pirates cut into the Panther lead with another run. Gant Hathcock reached on another infield hit and Jake Bigham moved him into scoring position when he reached on a Latta error.
Capps singled up the middle to score Hathcock from second to make it 4-2.
McQuain was pulled after a single and a walk to start the Latta third. Senior Tanner Herring came in to throw for the Pirates.
He gave up a single and a sacrifice fly to allow two runs to score but he recovered to shut down the Panthers in the third.
Latta scored two more in the fifth and sixth to make it 10-2. Dale added a run as Tanner Herring walked and Lewis came around to score when Hunt's fly ball to center field fell behind a defender.
The Pirates scored two more runs in the seventh when Capps reached on a fielder's choice and came around to score on an RBI double by Drew Reed. Reed scored the final run of the game when David Herring singled to drive him across.