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The boys of spring renew their passion at McKechnie

BRADENTON -- After nearly two weeks of bunting, baserunning and batting drills, the Pittsburgh Pirates played ball Friday afternoon at McKechnie Field.

In front 1,860 fans, the Pirates defeated State College of Florida 21-1 in a game full of local flavor.

Tim McGonegal, superintendent for the School District of Manatee County, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Manatee High grad Josh Clemen started on the hill for the Manatees.

And the game raised $13,020 in proceeds to benefit the Manatee Education Foundation, Wakeland Elementary School and G.D. Rogers Garden Elementary School.

The best part?

This is the beginning of the spring -- the Pirates open Grapefruit League play at 1:05 p.m. today in Port Charlotte against the Tampa Bay Rays, and then host the Rays at 1:05 p.m. Sunday back at McKechnie Field.

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