(May 6, 2018 – Plano, TX) The hits were scattered throughout the day and despite a solid effort by Dark Horse pitcher, Nolan Snell, the Spirits (18+) found a way to win Sunday afternoon. Snell went the distrance, holding the Spirits to just 5 runs on 7 hits, while striking out 14 hitters en route to picking up the loss. A two-out double in the sixth inning by JP Seider cleared the bases and Seider’s 3 RBIs on the play would prove to be the difference down the stretch.
The Spirits offense started quickly off of Snell, and it appeared Sunday’s game may turn out to be a bit of the same during the young season. The Spirits picked up 2 runs in the top half of the first with two outs after Kyle Redinger singled up the middle in between strikeouts by Cliff Brade and Eric Goetz. Holden Novak followed with a double that scored Redinger to give the ghosts a 1 to 0 lead. Teddy Croft then followed with a single to score Novak and the Spirits held a 2 to 0 advantage after Snell was able to retire RBI-hoarder, Mike Werner.
Novak took the start defensively for the Spirits and quietly set down the Horse despite a single by Conner Tobias. The game remained quiet with a bit of a pitcher’s duel between Novak and Snell for the next few innings, but the Horse broke their silence in the fourth inning after Zachary Zdanowics drew a free pass to first to start the inning. Zdanowics stole second but Novak also walked Tobias and the Horse had two on with nobody out. Novak followed with a strikeout to Snell and the Spirts appeared they may get out of the jam after Brian Kellner grounded up the middle. The Spirits attempt to twist a double-play fell short as the ball hit the turf on the throw to first, allowing Zdanowics to score. Novak was able to strike out Paul Garcia, Jr. looking to kill the rally and the Spirits held a 2 to 1 advantage after four complete.
Snell struck out the Spirits side in the fifth and Novak returned the favor of setting down the Horse in order in the bottom-half of the inning. The Spirits returned in the top half of the sixth and loaded up for 3 additional runs after John Showalter reached on a one-out single. Craig Molldrem pushed Showalter to second with another single and a walk to JR Rivera loaded the bases for Duane Aponte. Aponte had an earlier shot to left field that was snared by the Horse left fielder and his attempt to find turf failed as Snell was able to set him down swinging. With bases loaded and two out, Seider found the right field line for a double that cleared the bases and gave the Spirits a solid 5 to 1 lead.
Showalter then turned to Molldrem, his normal starter to finish the game. Fresh off a flight from Arizona, Molldrem didn’t get the opportunity to go through his typical warm-up routine and it may have shown when he came in to replace Novak. Joey Zrinzo started the Horse half of the sixth with a lead off single off of Molldrem. Molldrem followed by striking out Jake Morrow, but Zdanowics also singled to put runners on first and second with one down. Both runners were able to advance on a wild pitch and the bases became loaded after Molldrem lost the count to Tobias, who reached on a base-on-balls. The Spirits defense once again had the opportunity to find a way out of the inning after Snell grounded hard up the middle and the ghosts failed to complete the double-play, turfing yet another throw to first on the turn. Both Zrinzo and Zdanowics were able to score and the lead was then cut to 5 to 3. Molldrem was able to get Kellner on a fly out to kill the rally.
The Dark Horse made it 5 to 4 in the seventh after Travis Washmon singled with two out and then advanced to second after the ball got between the legs of Rivera in left field. He later advanced to third on a wild pitch from Molldrem and a single by Hayden Stallings put the Horse within reach. Snell made light work of the Spirits in the eighth and the Horse attempted some noise in their half of the inning after Morrow drew a walk to lead off. Zdanowics flew out, however Tobias also drew a walk off of Molldrem and the Horse had two runners on with one out. Molldrem promptly struck out Snell for out number two, and it was Aponte playing hero in right field after Kellner crushed a line drive down the right field line. Aponte was off toward the ball at the crack off the bat and was able to reach and snare the ball before it could find the turf.
The Spirits went in order during the ninth to pitch the cliche bottom-of-the-ninth opportunity for The Dark Horse. Garcia, Jr. made things interesting by leading off with a double. Dillon Smith then reached on a Spirits fielding error to put runners on the corners with nobody out. Washmon then squared to bunt and laid nearly a perfect bunt down the first base line that fortunately rolled foul for the Spirits as Garcia, Jr. would have scored easily. Washmon took the next pitch for a ball and then tried again to bunt, this time bunting directly to Molldrem charging in from the mound. Molldrem was able to easily scoop the ball and flip to Croft guarding the plate to tag out Garcia, Jr. for out number one. The heroics opportunity then went to the Spirits defense. Stallings grounded hard to Werner at second. Werner fielded on his way to second, stepped on the bag to squeeze Washmon and then fired to first for the double-play attempt. For the third straight time during a twin-killing attempt, the ball hit the turf, however this time Goetz was able to scoop the ball in time to complete the double-play and give the Spirits the victory.
“That as a great game,” commented Showalter after seeing his team grow to 6-0 in the NTABL National League standings. “Kyle had a heck of a game out there at shortstop. He made a few plays today that could have easily made ESPN’s highlight reel. Extremely proud of our team and the defense we played today. The Dark Horse is a solid team and (Nolan) Snell can bring it. I’m happy that my guys hung in there literally down to the last play. Sometimes that defense has to win the game for you and today they did their part.”
The Spirits will head back to Uptown, Dallas as they host the Dallas Blue Jays Wednesday night at Reverchon Park. First pitch is scheduled for 8:45PM. Click here to see schedule details, obtain directions to the game, or to download the iScore Central app to watch and listen to the game!
Dallas Spirits Players of the Game