(September 25, 2018 – Carrollton, TX) The rain seemed to disappear and Mother Nature appeared to deliver a perfect night of baseball at McInnish Park in Carrollton on Tuesday night. Under the Harvest Moon, the Spirits (18+) appeared poised with a solid lineup and ready to take on the Pirates at a field nicknamed, “Mt. McInnish” due to its over-sized pitching mound. That mound would turn out to be the thorn in the side for the Spirits as a 7-run second inning by the Pirates would eventually lead to the ghosts’ demise as they dropped the game by a score of 7 to 6.
Things began normal so to speak for the squad as hard-throwing, Holden Novak took to the big hill following a fruitless top half of the inning. Cliff Brade led the game off with a single and Kyle Redinger reached on a fielder’s choice with an error, but the Spirits offense wasn’t able to take advantage of the opportunity. Meanwhile, Novak played 1-2-3 with the Pirates after striking out Corri Bridges and Jake Medlin and getting Richard Tordsen to ground out.
The Spirits drew first blood in the second after newcomer, Sam Tanner went down on swings and Eric Goetz became the first base runner after wearing a pitch from Tanner McElroy. Goetz was forced out at second after Mike Anderson reached on a fielder’s choice. Anderson advanced to second after McElroy beaned Rudy Lucas and additional newcomer, Colton Buckner crushed a double to the right-center field wall to give the Spirits a 1 to 0 lead before McElroy was able to get Duane Aponte to ground out.
Aponte had shown up late for the game’s start and that story would prove to be the thorn as Mike Werner took the mound in place of Novak to start the Pirates half of the second. Aponte needed time to get loose, thus the team turned to Werner as Novak was saving his arm for the World Series in Arizona. The Pirates immediately took advantage of the fact that Werner hadn’t pitched in a very long time. The Pirates rallied for 7 runs in the inning before the dust settled. Werner walked the first hitter he faced, gave up a single, another walk and another single and the game was tied at 1. Matt Camoneri also singled to score Justin Smith and the Spirits were in the hole, 2 to 1. Werner then walked Michael Trabulsi to give the Pirates another run and Azael Alvarez made it back-to-back RBI walks to give the Pirates a 4 to 1 lead. Werner left the game and Aponte took over with bases loaded and appeared he may become the hero after striking out the first two hitters he faced. With bases loaded and two down however, Bridges and Medlin followed up with back-to-back singles and the score was 7 to 1 before Aponte was able to get Tordson to ground out to kill the inning.
The Spirits added a pair of runs in the top half of the third after Teddy Croft drew a one-out walk. Redinger went down on swings to leave one on with two outs, but Werner and Novak kept the inning alive after each followed up with a single. Tanner struck gold with the bases loaded after crushing a double to score both Croft and Werner and the Spirits cut the lead to, 7 to 3 before Goetz grounded out to end the rally. Despite a pair of singles to lead off the Pirates third, Aponte was able to retire the next three hitters including a pair of strikeouts to add to the stat sheet.
After Lucas and Bucker drew one-out walks in the fourth, the Spirits cut the lead down to, 7 to 4 after Lucas eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Aponte. The Spirits then held the Pirates scoreless in the bottom half of the inning before rallying again in the fifth. With game time winding down due to the league’s 2 hour time limit, Croft led the inning off with a single and advanced to third after a pair of wild pitches. Redinger followed with a single to score Croft and the lead was cut to, 7 to 5. Werner grounded out after Redinger advanced to second on a wild pitch, and he later scored after Novak grounded out. With two outs and a 7 to 6 score, Tanner drew a walk and the Spirits were in need of a hero. The hero turned out to be Bridges for the Pirates, however. Bridges relieved Medlin to face Goetz and won the battle as he was able to set down Goetz on swings to end the game.
Aponte finished the game with 3 innings pitched, allowing just one earned on 5 hits, while walking 2 and striking out 5. Pirates pitching combined for 6 strikeouts against the Spirits, with Medlin finishing with 3. Justin Smith led the Pirates offense with 2 hits, while Medlin finished with 2 RBIs.
The loss drops the Spirits record to 1-2 in the NTABL Trinity Division of Fall baseball. Assuming the rain can stay out of the area, the team returns to action on Sunday as they host the Fighting Squirrels at Texas Air Hogs Stadium in Grand Prairie at 12:00PM. You can click here for schedule details and to obtain driving directions, or to listen to the game live, online.
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