(April 5, 2021 – Dallas, TX) A number of Spirits hitters are finding their groove and with numerous players serving both the Spirits (40+) and Spirits (45+) squads, it’s already been a busy season from the plate. The 45 squad hosted the defending-champion Caddo Reds on Monday night at Reverchon Park and it was a slugfest between the squads for two innings before the ghosts hit overdrive and raced away with a 19 to 8 victory in NTABL Masters League action.
Eric McPherson, Jason Bottenfield, Kirk Sipila and David Tipton each finished with 3 hits apiece, with Bottenfield and Tipton also adding 3 RBIs respectively. The Spirits finished with 19 hits on the night, which contributed to an 8-run explosion in the second inning.
The Reds picked up a pair of runs in the top half of the first after Bret Baker reached on a one-out single, stole second, and then advanced to third on a single by Steven Nutt. Both runners scored after Jeffrey Smith doubled and the Reds had a quick, 2 to 0 lead. The Spirit rebounded with 5 runs of their own in the starting frame after McPherson led things off with a double. Bottenfield flew out, but Sipila tripled to score McPherson. Shawn Lee drew a base-on-balls and a double by Sean House scored both runners. House advanced to third on a single by Patrick Bilgere and another single by Tipton scored House. Bilgere was tagged out at the plate, but Brian Hackney kept things rolling with an RBI single to make it 5 to 2, Spirits before Brant Finchum flew out to close the inning.
The Reds quickly tied the game in the second inning after back-to-back singles by Will Nash and Chris Allen. Stacy Scott then tripled to deep right to score both runners and he would later score on a Spirits fielding error. The Spirits bounced back themselves and this time they added an exclamation point by putting up an 8-run second. John Hefner reached on a one-out single and a walk to Earl German put two on with one out. McPherson followed with his second double of the game to score Hefner and a single by Bottenfield scored both German and McPherson. Bottenfield swiped second and moved to third on a single from Sipila. Lee hit a sacrifice fly to left to score Bottenfield and a follow up single by House moved Sipila to third, leaving runners at the corners for the ghosts. Bilgere then singled home Sipila and a balk call against Scott, the Reds pitcher moved both runners over. Tipton followed with a double to score both runners and would later score on a wild pitch after the Reds turned to Allen to replace Scott on the mound.
The Spirits quieted the Reds in the third, but then added 4 more runs after Chris Lewis led things off with a walk. Hefner followed with a walk as well and a sacrifice bunt from German moved both runners over. McPherson picked up his second RBI on the evening with his third hit to score Lewis and a double by Bottenfield scored Hefner. Sipila then singled and was squeezed at second after Lee reached on a fielder’s choice that was good enough to score McPherson. House drew a walk and Bottenfield would later score on a passed ball before Bilgere flew out to end the inning.
The Reds went on to add a run each of the remaining innings and the Spirits added another run in the fourth and fifth innings before the game was called due to the league’s 2-hour time limit.
“Great job by the bats today,” Lee commented. “McPherson, Bottenfield, Sipila and Tipton were outrageous from the plate tonight. It actually overshadowed numbers that would have been good on a normal night from several others as well. House finished with a pair of hits, 2 runs, 2 RBIs and a walk and Bilgere also finished with a pair of hits. We’re hard to beat when the bats are on. We just hope we can keep it up. Great win tonight over a solid baseball team.”
The Spirits (45+) squad returns to work next Monday and will face another talented team in that of the Dallas Cardinals. Game time is slated for 8:45PM and you can click here for schedule details or to listen to the game live online by downloading the iScore Central app.
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