(April 23, 2018 – Dallas, TX) One of the Spirits (45+) is making an early bid towards an All-Star vote for the 2018 campaign and based on his first four games to kick off the season, pitcher and utility man, Brant Finchum may have already stamped his vote. Finchum has been a common pronoun used in the early Spirits season, and with Player of the Game honors thus far in each contest, he’s certain to be in the conversation when voting begins.
Finchum took the mound for the Spirits Monday night as they visited the Hurricanes Baseball Club in what would likely be another barn-burner based on the two teams’ recent history. Scheduled starter, Earl German was running late for the game so Finchum stepped in and did a masterful job assuring his teammates that tonight wouldn’t be quite the foot race as previous games between the two clubs had been in recent history. Finchum pitched 5 solid innings, allowing just one earned run on 3 hits, while walking 4 and striking out 2 as the Spirits cruised to a 12 to 1 victory at Reverchon Park in Uptown, Dallas.
Finchum also played a solid role in the team’s offense, going 1-for-1 with a double, stealing 3 bases, scoring 2 runs, and batting 2 additional runs to the dish as well. Patrick Bilgere also added a pair of RBIs alongside a double, a run scored, and a pair of free trips to first, and Mark Leemaster rounded up the offense adding two hits, a run scored, and 2 RBIs. Collectively, the Spirits put up 11 hits and left 10 runners on base in a game that could have been a bit more lopsided.
“Not sure what else to say about Brant (Finchum),” commented club manager, Shawn Lee following the game. “He leads by example. Never really walks around like he owns the joint, but rather humbly sits back and plays hard. It literally doesn’t matter what position you put him at. He plays them all…every position; and when he does, he goes 100% every single time. He’s had a heck of a start to this season and it’s no surprise to see him performing at a high level. He was our 2016 team MVP so it’s no surprise to the rest of the guys to see him getting it done on both ends.”
The Spirits started quickly in the top half of the first after Finchum drew a walk following a David Tipton strikeout. Finchum stole second and later took third base before scoring on an RBI single by Brian Hackney. Shawn Lee singled to advance Hackney and both runners scored on a double by Bilgere that singed the right field line. The Spirits added another run to make it 4 to 0 in the third after Tipton singled and stole both second and third, then later scored on an RBI sacrifice fly by Kirk Sipila.
The ghosts added 3 more runs in the fourth after Bilgere walked and Chris Lewis has hit by a pitch. Jack Nash reached on a fielder’s choice that squeezed Lewis at second, and with one out, German reached on a base on balls. Eric McPherson singled to score Bilgere, and Nash later scored on an RBI single by Leemaster. Finchum earned another RBI after drawing his third free pass to first and the Spirits led the game 7 to 0.
The Hurricanes countered with a run in the bottom half of the fourth after Vince Parello drew a walk from Finchum and then stole second. He advanced to third on a wild pitch and later scored on a single by James Deen. A five-run sixth inning appeared to be all the Hurricanes could handle, as McPherson led the inning off with a walk and then stole second. He then scored on the second RBI single of the game for Leemaster. Tipton also drew a walk and Leemaster scored after Finchum hit a double down the left field line. Parello had issues handling the ball and Tipton was able to score on the miscue. Finchum made his way to third on a double by Sipila and both runners later scored on an error by the Hurricanes shortstop to give the game its final score of 12 to 1.
“Our defense really got it done tonight too,” continued Lee. “(Jack) Nash had a heck of a game playing third, and the middle was solid tonight with (Eric) McPherson and Sip (Kirk Sipila). We’re not typically as inclined to field grounders for Finch when he’s pitching, but the guys were great tonight.”
German closed out the final two innings of play for the Spirits, allowing one hit, walking one, and striking out one. The Spirits (45+) squad returns to action in NTABL Masters League Play next Monday night as they visit the Caddo Reds on Graham Field at 6:30PM. Click here to view schedule details, obtain directions to the game, or to download the iScore Central game app to view and listen to the game live!