(September 30, 2018 – Grand Prairie, TX) It may be flattering to pick up a victory over a young team, but the Spirits (35+) Fall squad felt like making it dramatic as well Sunday afternoon at Texas Air Hogs Stadium in Grand Prairie. The Spirits used a 3-run fifth inning to rally from a 3 to 2 deficit to earn a 5 to 3 victory over the Coyotes in NTABL Brazos Division Fall baseball this past weekend. The game was an immediate improvement over the first match-up between the two teams that saw the Coyotes actually quit four innings in during a 13 to 0 onslaught just over a week ago.
“Glad to get a win over some young talent,” commented Club Manger, Shawn Lee on his team’s victory. “The league allowed them to be part of the 35+ this season due to lack of enrollment and at first, we were a bit skeptical. We’ve faced some of these young guys before in Fall and technically, that’s why we chose to play in the open division last time. Based on my Fall roster, I wasn’t initially thrilled at the idea of trying to compete against a younger squad, but so far we’ve been up to the task. I’m not sure how I feel about them bringing in guys that can sling it up to 80 mph or higher, but if that becomes and issue we can discuss it later. Playing solid talent only makes you better, but most of my squad consists of guys over 45. We have to keep it real, too.”
Newcomer, Bobby Kornhauser took the start for the Spirits on the mound and made quick work of the Coyotes after setting the first three hitters in order, including a strikeout. The Spirits offense then started quickly in the bottom half of the first after Eric Goetz singled with one out. Goetz stole second and then scored on a single by Kirk Sipila and the Spirits had a 1 to 0 lead. Sipila was able to advance to second on the throw and later advanced to third when Chris Lewis grounded out. Kornhauser aided his own cause by drilling in RBI single to score Sipila and the Spirits were up 2 to 0 before Eric McPherson went down looking to end the inning.
Things remained quiet until the third when the Coyotes got on the board with a pair of runs after Nathan Rios drew a lead off walk. Bryan Trevino followed with a ground rule double that scored Rios and would later score following a wild pitch from Kornhauser. Kornhauser then struck out the next two hitters he faced before getting Jhon Gonzalez to fly out to end the inning. After two and half complete, the game was tied at 2 to 2.
It appeared the Spirits might obtain the lead in the bottom half of the third when Duane Aponte drew a lead off walk and Brant Finchum reached on an error. Goetz was called out on an infield fly and a single by Sipila loaded the bases. The Spirits were hoping to make use of the loaded bags, but Lewis went down swinging and Kornhauser flew out to end and chance of regaining the lead.
The Coyotes took a 3 to 2 lead in the top half of the fifth after Trevino reached on a one-out single and stole second. Sipila, who replaced Korhauser in the fourth was able to strike out Brandon Gonzales looking and it appeared the Spirits had Trevino trying to steal second, but Finchum botched the throw by catcher, John Hefner and Trevino was safe on the miscue. The error would later cost the Spirits as Trevino later scored after Edgar Hernandez was able to reach on another Spirits error. Sipila was able to strike out Jhon Gonzalez to end the rally, but the Spirits trailed 3 to 2 heading into the bottom of the fifth.
Finchum went down on swings to start the inning, but was able to make it to first when the Coyotes catcher dropped and misplayed the third strike. Finchum stole second and Goetz made it two on with nobody out after drawing a walk. Both runners advanced on a double-steal and Sipila scored the first out by lining out. Lewis was able to rally from and 0-for-2 start with an RBI single that scored Finchum and tied the game, 3 to 3. Lewis was able to take second and Goetz also scored when the Coyotes threw the ball out of play and a ground out from Kornhauser was good enough to score Lewis and the Spirits led the game, 5 to 3. McPherson drew a walk and Jack Nash was hit by a pitch for the second time to put additional base runners on for the Spirits, but Hefner went down on swings to end the rally.
Despite a single by Gary Menes to start the sixth, Sipila added a pair of strikeouts and was then able to get Nolan Bedward to ground out to pick up the victory as the league’s time limit of two hours ended the game. The win pushes the Spirits to 3-0 in Brazos Division play as the team prepares for an undefeated showdown versus the Knights on Wednesday night. First pitch is slated for 9:00PM at McInnish Park #11 in Carrollton. Click here for schedule details, to obtain driving directions, or to download the iScore Central app to watch and listen to the game live, online.