(June 13, 2016 – Plano, TX) The Spirits Masters (45+) team has found a thorn in its side for 2016 and that thorn has a name; the Dallas Orioles. Similar to the teams’ first match-up, the Spirits failed to show up and compete against a solid Orioles club that seems to have no issues with manufacturing runs, pitching, or playing defense.
Team Manager, Kirk Sipila was left scratching his head like most of the team following the game. The team appeared lethargic and simply lacked the energy to put things together, despite 9 hits from the offensive end. P John Holmquist seemed to struggle a bit with his command a day after his 48th birthday, and most of the Orioles hitters used patience and that patience paid off in the form of 10 runs on 16 hits. The final could have been worse as the Orioles stranded 9 runners as part of their offensive surge against the Spirits. This game marks the second of two attempts that the Orioles have won by 8 or more runs. The Spirits fell 16-1 in their first outing, with tonight’s game ending 10-2. Currently the Orioles hold a 26-3 edge in two games played.
“Despite only having one physical error, we made a few different mental errors throughout the game that contributed to this loss,” noted Sipila. “We can’t win if we can’t score runs. The only two games we’ve failed to do that, we’ve lost. Unfortunately both of those losses have been at the hands of the Orioles. We have to give them credit for those games, but I know we’re a much better baseball team than we’re showing.” Sipila wasn’t just quoting out of philosophy. His team is averaging approximately 11 runs per game in their 4 victories, alongside 10 hits per game. The team was close to their hit mark, however putting together runs just didn’t happen. Outside of leaving 6 runners stranded, Spirits base-runners were doubled up twice and one runner was forced off a base during a play at the plate that resulted in a run down and end to a rally inning.
Sipila continued afterward, “We didn’t hit the ball well enough to win. Pitching was probably good enough to win on most nights, but we have to stop giving good hitters chances to hit the ball with 3 and 1 strike counts.” Sipila’s reference was tied to the higher pitch counts most of the Orioles faced during the game, most of which in the hitter’s favor. “We’re all much better hitters in those situations. We’ll put this one behind us and we’ll need to regroup and come out next week focused and ready to do our part to play winning baseball. Short term memory is key.”
The team certainly didn’t appear to struggle against Orioles pitching, however they did fail to find opportunity and capitalize. RF and utility man, Brant Finchum remained hot from the plate with a pair of singles in a 2 for 3 performance. LF Shawn Lee also continued his streak, going 2 for 3 including a single and a double off the left-field wall in the 7th. Kirk Sipila and Eric McPherson each singled, as did Chris Lewis who also scored a run. David Tipton singled, scored, and batted in a run, and Jack Nash wrapped up the Spirits offense with a single and RBI of his own.
The team remains in second place tied with the Caddo Reds, each with records of 4-2 while the Orioles advance to 7-0 and hold a commanding lead in the NTABL Masters League Division. The Spirits (45+) team returns to action next Monday night as they face Texas Blue Jays at 8:45PM likely at this same location.