(June 23, 2021 – Euless, TX) It was a repeat match-up from a week prior and the outcome was pretty much the same. Following a 16 to 1 beat down just 7 days ago, the Brewers found themselves in familiar territory as defensive heads were on swivels as the Brewers could only watch the Spirits (40+) squad producing wholesale numbers for the box score.
Starting pitcher, Jonathan Duran went the distance in another shortened game as he kept Brewers bats fairly quiet allowing 3 earned on 5 hits while walking and striking out 1 in 5 innings of work. Behind him, an offense that simply was ruthless. The Spirits put together 18 hits across 5 innings at the plate as the hammered the Brewers by a score of 19 to 3.
Kirk Sipila and Shawn Lee finished the night perfect, each going 3-for-3 with a walk. Lee also added a double on the night with an RBI and 2 runs scored, while Sipila scored twice and added a pair of runs batted in. Travis Hitzeman finished 2-for-4 with a double, run scored, and 5 RBIs and Aaron Wilson finished the night with a double, sacrifice fly, and 4 runs batted in. Eric McPherson capped the box score highlights with 2 hits, 3 runs batted in, 4 runs scored, a walk, and 3 stolen bases as the Spirits upped their record to 10-5, holding onto second place in the DFW-ABA 40 League standings.
Scoring was light in the top half of the first after McPherson drew a leadoff walk and then went on to steal second base. An errant throw allowed McPherson to snag third and moments later, he scored on an RBI single by Sipila. Hitzeman went down on swings and Lee drew a base-on-balls to keep the inning alive. Wilson then reached on an error and it appeared the ghosts were poised to score again, but Eric Goetz grounded into a double-play that retired Lee at third to end the inning.
The Brewers evened things up at 1 to 1 in the bottom half of the first after Tad Holbrook drew a walk to start the Brewers half. Jason Brookner grounded out but Holbrook was able to move to second on the play and a single by the next Brewers hitter allowed Holbrook to move to third. The Spirits retired Jerry Hudson on a ground out that allowed Holbrook to score and after Bruce Raspberry grounded out, the game was tied after one inning completed.
The ghosts followed the Brewers rally with 4 runs in the top half of the second when David Tipton started things off with a free pass to first. Tipton swiped second and a walk to Shawn Hunt put two on with nobody out. Earl German singled to load the bags and the Brewers saved face when Stacy Scott was retired to an infield fly. Two pitches later, Tipton was able to score on a passed ball that also allowed the other runners to advance. Brant Finchum flew out, but no deep enough to score a runner but McPherson came through with a single that plated both Hunt and German. McPherson then stole both second and third and a few pitches later, Sipila drew a walk to put runners on the corners. The Brewers then turned to their bullpen to stop the bleeding and the move worked as Hitzeman grounded out to end the inning.
Duran held the Brewers in check in the bottom half of the inning, despite a single by Rusty Thompson and the Spirits offense returned to the play for more in the third. Lee doubled to start things off and after he reached third on a passed ball, he was able to score on a sacrifice fly by Wilson. Goetz flew out to record the second out in the inning, but Tipton kept things alive with a single up the middle. Tipton swiped second base and moments later, he scored on an RBI double by Hunt to make it 7 to 1, Spirits before German grounded out to end the Spirits inning.
The Brewers rallied for another pair of runs in the bottom of the third after Duran beaned Stephen McFadden to put one on with nobody out. Sam Blunt replaced him at first after reaching on a fielder’s choice that retired McFadden and he later moved to second after Holbrook grounded out. Brooker then followed with a double to score Blunt and the next Brewers hitter replaced Brookner at second with another double that scored him and cut the lead to, 7 to 3. Hudson followed with another single that sent the Brewers runner to the plate, but Tipton was able to cut him down at the plate after firing a strike to Hunt to tag him out and to end the inning.
The Spirits offense then put the game away, starting with another 6 runs in the fourth inning. Scott walked and moved to second on a single by Finchum. Duran went down swinging, but McPherson followed with an RBI single to score Scott. Sipila loaded the bags with a single and a double by Hitzeman scored all three runners. Lee singled to push Hitzeman to third and a follow up double by Wilson scored both Hitzeman and Lee. Goetz flew out and Tipton drew a walk to keep the inning alive, but the Brewers turned to yet another pitcher, this time in the form of Joe Cano and he was able to get Hunt to fly out to end the Spirits inning.
The Brewers went in order in the bottom half of the inning and in the fifth, it was more of the same. The Spirits put together another 6-run inning, this time starting off with a single by German. German moved to second on a passed ball and Cano was able to get Scott to ground out. Finchum drew a walk and a single by Duran loaded the bags for McPherson who reached on a fielding error that allowed German to score. Sipila, Hitzeman, and Lee each followed with RBI singles to move runners from station to station and to keep the scoreboard busy. Wilson then reached on a fielder’s choice that squeezed Hitzeman at third but also allowed Sipila to score. Lee then scored on an RBI single from Goetz to make it 19 to 3 before Tipton flew out to end the beat down.
Duran set the Brewers in order in the bottom half of the inning, including a strikeout to McFadden to end the game and to add the exclamation point on the mercy-rule shortened game.
“Outstanding night of hitting for us,” Lee mentioned after the game. “Back to back games with our pitchers dealing and our offense clicking. It’s a great recipe as we make the final turn before the playoffs. We’ll take it one game at a time, but you have to enjoy the ride when things are working out. I feel like everyone is contributing well and look forward to the guys carrying this momentum down the stretch.”
The Spirits will return to action in their final regular season game as they visit the Drillers after observing a bye in the schedule. The game is slated for Wednesday, July 7 and you can click here for schedule details.