(October 2, 2018 – Carrollton, TX) The names Sam Tanner and Colton Buckner are becoming household names for the Spirits (18+) Fall squad as the two newcomers to the team combined for 5 hits and 4 RBIs to help power the Spirits over the Braves, 9 to 4 Tuesday night at McInnish Park in Carrollton.
The ghouls wasted little time adding a pair of runs to start the game after Eric Goetz drew a base-on-balls and would advance to second on a wild pitch from Braves starter, Justin Gray. Teddy Croft followed with a single to put runners on the corners with nobody out and Tanner was retired on a ground ball that allowed Croft to move to second. With one out in the inning, Buckner was able to strike gold with a single that was good enough to score both runners and the Spirits held a 2 to 0 lead before Mike Werner flew out and Holden Novak grounded out to end the Spirits half of the first.
Desipte a single by Chad McCune in the bottom half of the inning, starter Duane Aponte was able to set the other hitters in order and after one inning, the Spirits lead remained intact. The Spirits quickly made it 4 to 0 in the second after Rudy Lucas drew a walk to lead off the inning. Lucas stole second base and would later advance to third when Leo Hernandez reached on a Braves fielding error. The error by the Braves shortstop allowed Hernandez to advance to second on the play and gave Lucas the opportunity to score as well. Aponte drew a walk to put another Spirits runner aboard and a second fielding error by the Braves defense allowed Hernandez to score and for Goetz to reach base safely. Croft would then reach on a fielder’s choice that put out Aponte trying to take home and a double-play by the Braves defense stopped the bleeding and retired Tanner to end the inning.
Aponte allowed another single in the second inning to Jason Duncan and Duncan would later make his way to the plate to cut the Spirits lead down to, 4 to 1. The Spirits then made it 5 to 1 after Werner reached on a one-out single in the top half of the third inning. Werner advanced to third base after the Braves threw the ball around and an RBI single by Novak plated Werner to give the Spirits their fifth run. Novak was later thrown out trying to swipe second and Lucas grounded out to end the inning, but the Spirits remained in control.
A lead off single by Sergio Aguirre gave the Braves their third hit in as many innings, but a double-play by the Spirits defense and a ground out by Gray left the Braves offense sputtering. The Spirits then capitalized in the top half of the fourth after Herndandez led things off with a double. Aponte made it back-to-back doubles to plate Hernandez and after Goetz flew out to record the first out of the inning, Croft made it two on with one out after drawing a walk. A single by Tanner scored Aponte and Croft nearly made it 8 to 1 before being tagged out at the plate. Werner grounded out to end the inning, but the Spirits had a commanding 7 to 1 lead.
Aponte kept the Braves hitters in check and as the teams moved into the top half of the fifth, the Spirits played bully by adding another pair of runs starting with Lucas doubling to the wall. Aponte grounded out to push Lucas to third and an RBI triply by Goetz lifted the score to, 8 to 1. Croft was hit by a pitch and a follow up RBI single from Tanner made it 9 to 1 before Gray and the Braves defense would sneak out of the inning after a pair of fly balls from Spirits hitters.
The Braves cut the lead to 9 to 2 following an RBI single in sixth from Brett Lane and later, they made it 9 to 4 after Aponte beaned back-to-back hitters in the seventh before Riley Senor doubled to score both runners. Aponte was able to retire the remaining hitters and the Spirits left with a 9 to 4 victory. Aponte went the distance, picking up the win after yielding 4 earned on 6 hits, while walking none and striking out 5.
Tanner, Buckner, and Goetz led the Spirits offense, with Goetz adding a triple to his box score alongside 2 runs scored, 2 RBIs, and a base-on-balls. Riley Senor led the Braves with a double and a pair of RBIs.
The Spirits return to action on Sunday when the visit a new foe in the form of the Spartans at First Baptist Academy in Dallas. First pitch is slated for 3:15PM and you can click here for schedule details, to obtain driving directions, or to download the iScore Central app to watch and listen to the game live, online.