(October 7, 2018 – Grand Prairie, TX) Storms took over Sunday afternoon, shortening the contest between the Royals Baseball Club and the Spirits (35+) fall squad at Texas Air Hogs Stadium. The first signs of lightening came from Spirits bats as they used 11 hits to put up 10 runs as they coasted to victory, 10 to 1.
Jason Bottenfield recorded the complete-game win despite the shortened version of the game, allowing one earned run on 3 hits while striking out 6 Royals on his way to victory. Bottenfield also aided his own cause with a 2-run, inside-the-park home run that helped him finish the day with a pair of hits, 2 runs scored and 2 RBIs. Back-to-back doubles recorded by Travis Hitzeman and Bobby Kornhauser also carried the Spirits offense.
The game remained quiet and scoreless until the third inning when the Royals actually drew a 1 to 0 lead. Nathan Daltymple singled to lead off the inning. Daltymple stole second and remained there after John Crossley also singled to put two on with nobody out. Both runners advanced on a ball that snuck past Spirits catcher, Chris Lewis and the Royals made the miscue hurt after Ron Glenn grounded out, allowing Daltymple to score. Bottenfield was then able to strike out Michael Dossey and Scot Jeffries flew out to end the Royals rally.
The Spirits showed some signs of offensive life in the bottom half of the inning after Shawn Lee led the inning off with a single. Lee advanced to second when John Hefner singled, but a miscue by Lee on the base paths cost the Spirits a pair of outs and would eventually lead to the end of the inning when Jack Nash grounded out for the third out. Lee took a large lead during an at-bat by Jonathan Duran and took off on contact when Duran hit a soft line drive toward center field. The Royals second baseman was cutting toward the base to govern Lee and struck pay dirt with the soft line drive and easily doubled-up Lee who was already rounding third.
Bottenfield set the Royals down in order in the fourth and the Spirits offense awoke with 8 runs in the bottom half of the inning and did so all with two outs. Aaron Wilson grounded out to start the inning and Brant Finchum was retired on a ground ball before the Spirits decided to start plating runs. Bottenfield singled with two down and advanced to second when Kirk Sipila reached on a Royals fielding error. Hitzeman doubled to the wall and just missed a home run, but the deep shot was good enough to score both base runners and the Spirits led, 2 to 1. Kornhauser replaced Hitzeman at second with another double to score Travis and the Spirits were up, 3 to 1. Lewis followed with an RBI single to score Kornhauser and would later advance to second after Eric McPherson singled. Lee made it 5 straight hits with a line drive down the left field line to score Lewis and McPherson scored after Hefner made it 6 straight. Duran then reached on an error that was good to score Lee and Hefner before the Royals were able to stop the bleeding after retiring Nash on a ground out.
Bottenfield struck out the side in the fifth and the Spirits offense tacked on another pair of runs after Wilson drew a lead off walk and Bottenfield later slammed an inside-the-park home run to the left center field gap. Sipila and Hitzeman drew walks to keep the offense moving, but lightening strikes and high winds that moved into the area quickly ended the game and left players scattering for their vehicles as storms took over Grand Prairie.
The win boots the Spirits record to 4-0-1 and keeps them atop the NTABL Brazos Division Fall Ball standings. The team was scheduled to play this past Wednesday night, however games were rained out. The next scheduled game for the ghosts will be Sunday at 1:00PM as the squad hosts the Knights at First Baptist Academy. You can click here to review schedule details, obtain driving directions, or to download the iScore Central app to watch and listen live, online.