(October 3, 2018 – Carrollton, TX) We’ve seen a few of them in the NFL this year and it now appears the sports term for the word, “turd” has reached the levels of amateur baseball in North Texas. The word, “turd” translates to tie in baseball and that’s just what the Spirits (35+) squad earned themselves on Wednesday night at McInnish Park in Carrollton.
A pair of errors with two outs in the bottom half of the seventh inning by the Spirits defense allowed the Knights to come from behind to tie the game, 5 to 5 and with league time limit constraints in effect, the two teams left the field with a pointless outcome. The Spirits held a 5 to 2 lead heading into the bottom half of the inning and very easily should have walked away from the game victorious. But despite having two outs, the team fumbled the opportunity and walked away tied in a game that very much felt like a loss.
“Honestly, I’ll take responsibility for the tie,” commented Shawn Lee following the game. “Five errors isn’t going to get it done for anyone. They had five and we have five, on paper. We had more than five errors though. I guess we’ll add an error in bookkeeping as well. I recorded the first one so I’m pointing no blame at anyone. They guys bailed me out on mine, so I’m fortunate, but we didn’t play well defensively. Offensively, we played well until there were two outs in the seventh. Then we really laid a big one. Jonathan (Duran) pitched a great game, but I left him in one inning too long. We had a few pitches hit the dirt, gave them extra bases and I let myself get talked out of a pitching change. It won’t happen again, so that’s on me. I hate losing, but learning from your mistakes is more important. I made mistakes both as a coach and a teammate tonight so I owe my team one now.”
The team essentially cruised up until the two out portion of the seventh when they essentially handed the game back to the Knights. David Tipton started off the first by drawing a walk and then stole second. He advanced to third when the Knight’s catcher launched the ball to center field and would later come in to score on a passed ball. The game actually remained 1 to 0 until the fourth, when the Spirits gave up a pair of runs staring with a fielding error that allowed Scott McCain to reach base. McCain was quickly squeezed at second when Jesus Marquez reached on a fielder’s choice that was nearly a double-play. Matthew Lawley then doubled to the left-center field gap to put runners on second and third and a single by Joshua Leveridge scored both runners.
The Spirits rallied for 3 runs in the fifth to regain the lead after John Hefner led things off with a double to the left field wall. Jack Nash reached on a Knights fielding error and then later stole second to give the Spirits runners on second and third with nobody out. Tipton drew another walk to load the bases. Hefner would later score on another Knights passed ball and after Brant Finchum singled, both Tipton and Nash were able to score on errant throw by the Knights pitcher to first. The meat of the Spirits lineup then went in order after Kirk Sipila and Bobby Kornhauser popped out to the catcher and Chris Lewis grounded out to end the inning, but the Spirits had a 4 to 2 advantage.
The Spirits then made it 5 to 2 in the sixth after Eric McPherson went down on swings and Lee wore a pitch in his back fat to give the ghosts a runner on with one down. Duran went down on strikes but Hefner kept the inning alive with a single to push Lee to second. Both runners advanced on another passed ball and a key single by Nash with two outs gave the Spirits a their fifth run and what appeared to be plenty of insurance moving toward the game’s final inning and a half.
Duran, the Spirits starting pitcher, was able to get out of a tough sixth inning after giving up a one-out single to Lawley followed by walking Leveridge. He recovered and was able to get David Poole to ground out and Greg Haddon to fly out to kill any rally ideas. The Spirits went in order outside a single by Kornhauser after the Knights replaced Haddon on the mound with Haley Hougen. The teams moved into the game’s final half inning with the Spirits holding the same, 5 to 2 lead. Keaton Hougen led the inning off with a single and a pitch to the dirt allowed Hougen to advance to second. Leggitt grounded out to Sipila at second and Sipila was able to hold the runner before making the play to first to record the first out. Haley Hougen then grounded to Finchum a third, but Finchum’s throw to first hit the infield dirt and Kornhauser wasn’t able to haul the ball in, thus allowing Keaton Hougen to score and for Haley Hougen to advance to second. McCain followed with a single to score Haley Hougen and the Knights rallied to cut the score, 5 to 4. McCain then advanced to second on a wild pitch from Duran and a slow ground ball hit to the middle infield by Jesus Marquez bounced over the glove of McPherson and McCain scored easily to tie the game. The Spirits were able to get Lawley to ground out to end the game and the 5 to 5 tie really felt like a loss for the ghosts as they left the field.
“It was a tough one to swallow,” continued Lee. “I wish I would have handled it more elegantly in front of the guys, but I didn’t. I should have just gone with my instincts to relieve Duran and give the Knights something different to look at. I think the outcome would have been different. I’m sitting here second-guessing decisions I just should have made rather than asking by committee. I think our loss to the Cardinals in summer ball is still stinging me, because it was a similar collapse. I just have to be more poignant on my decisions to put us in a position to win. We played fairly well. We were in a position to win and we should have one. We gave them that tie, no doubt.”
Duran finished with a solid outing despite the no-decision. He went the distance allowing 1 earned on 7 hits, while walking 3 and striking out none. Tipton led the offense with 3 appearances on base after drawing 3 walks, stealing a base, and scoring twice. The team returns to action on Sunday afternoon as they host the Royals once again at Texas Air Hogs Stadium. First pitch is slated for 4:30PM and you can click here for schedule details, obtain driving directions to the game, or to download the iScore Central app to watch and listen to the game live, online.