(May 24, 2018 – Grand Prairie, TX) The Spirits (35+) enjoyed a day at the ball park on Thursday night as they received an opportunity to host the Royals Baseball Club at Texas Air Hogs Stadium in NTABL Veterans League play. Jonathan Duran led the way both offensively and defensively, picking up a pair of hits and 2 RBI from the plate and also by delivering nearly 5 innings of pitching that held off the solid-hitting Royals squad.
The Royals scattered 8 hits off of Duran, scoring 4 earned runs while seeing 3 of their hitters go down on strikes as Duran went on to pick up the victory in the Spirits, 6 to 4 win. Earl German filled in the final 2 and 1/3 innings to pick up the save, keeping the Royals hit-less to close out the game, while striking out 2.
The Royals struck first in the top half of the first after Scott Jeffries led the game off with a single. Marc Fagan went down looking and Mark Mitchell followed with a one-out single to put runners at the corners. Jeffries was able to score on a passed ball and Mitchell later scored on an RBI single by Kohl Prigge. Duran was able to retire the next two Royals he faced, but the Royals led 2 to 0 after the first.
The Spirits offense opened up for a 4-spot in the bottom half of the second after Chris Lewis reached on an error and then advanced to second on a single by John Showalter. Patrick Bilgere followed up with a single to load the bases and Lewis was able to score on an RBI single by German. Eric McPherson then reached on a fielder’s choice that squeezed Bilgere at third, but was good enough to score Showalter. Duran then singled to score German and Cliff Brade also reached on a fielder’s choice that plated McPherson and gave the Spirits a 4 to 2 lead.
The game remained quiet until the fourth, when the Spirits picked up runs 5 and 6. Bilgere drew a base on balls and then stole second. German went down on swings and McPherson followed with a single. Duran picked up his second RBI on the night with a single to score Bilgere and after Brade singled, McPherson later scored when David Tipton drew a bases-loaded walk.
The Royals rallied in the fifth, however despite starting the inning with two outs. Jeff Jones grounded out and Patrick Osage went down on strikes to Duran before Richard Campbell doubled. He scored after Cristofer Pritchett singled and the Royals then put runners on the corners after John Crossley reached on a single. Ron Glenn then followed with another single to score Pritchett and Kirk Sipila, handling game management duties for Shawn Lee who was away, decided to turn to German to close out the inning and the game. German was able to get Jeffries to ground out to kill the rally and closed shop the rest of the way to seal the Spirits victory.
The squad returns to action next Thursday when they visit the Dodgers at Reverchon Park in Uptown, Dallas. Game time is set for 6:30PM. Click here for schedule details, to obtain directions to the game, or to download the iScore Central app to watch and listen to the game!