(October 18, 2017 – Plano, TX) The Spirits (Brazos) squad remained hot as the team advanced its record to 8-1 in NTABL Brazos Division fall baseball play. Kirk Sipila was the hero of the day, using his gun-slinging side-arm arsenal of pitches to shut down Bulls hitters and on his way to 3 no-hit innings of pitching.
The Spirits offense once again started quickly by picking up 3 runs in the top half of the first inning. With one out, Sipila picked up a single and scored after JR Rivera took a 2-1 pitch to right-center field for a double. Rivera advanced to third on the throw home and then scored after Mike Werner followed with another double and the Spirits led the game, 2 to 0. John Showalter followed with an RBI single to give the phantasms a 3 to 0 lead before a pair of ground outs by Guy Koenig and Chris Lewis ended the first inning rally.
Sipila would go on to set the Bulls down in order for the next three innings of play, with the Spirits picking up their fourth run in the top half of the third after Shawn Lee drew a walk, stole second and then advanced to third when Sipila reached on an error by the Bulls shortstop. Lee was able to later score on a ground out by Werner and the Spirits were up, 4 to 0.
Sipila continued his side-arm magic in the fourth by getting the first two Bulls in order before Todd Brooks broke up the no-hit bid. Brooks tapped a soft grounder off the end of the bat and just past Sipila and the mound. Lee charged from shortstop and tried to make the bare-handed play, but the spin on the ball sent it away from Lee at the moment he met the ball and Brooks was safe at first. Sipila followed up by striking out Daniel Washington to keep the shutout intact.
The Spirits picked up an additional run in the sixth when Showalter drew a lead off walk and Lewis singled to push him to third. Justin Anderson grounded out but the play was good enough to score Showalter and the Spirits had a 5 to 0 lead. Sipila then followed by setting down the Bulls in order in the bottom half of the inning to finish his day with one hit, 0 runs scored, a walk, and 5 strikeouts.
The ghosts added another pair of runs in the seventh after Brian Hackney doubled and then advanced to third on a single by Lee. Lee stole second and then advanced to third after Sipila recorded an RBI ground out to score Hackney. Lee later scored on a single by Rivera and the Spirits went into the final half inning of play up, 7 to 0. Lee replaced Sipila with Showalter to see what the hard-throwing third baseman could do from the hill and Showalter didn’t disappoint. Showalter struck out Jeff Jones to start the inning and was able to get Brooks to ground out. Washington drew a two out walk and another slow-rolling grounder to Lee at short allowed Washington to score after reaching second on a passed ball. Showalter composed himself and was able to get Jeff Lambert to ground out to end the game.
The victory keeps the Spirits (Brazos) in first place with a record of 8-1 as they prep for the regular season finale against the Reds. The game is scheduled for 11:00AM on Sunday and will be hosted at Jesuit College Preparatory in Dallas.