(May 9, 2018 – Dallas, TX) The Spirits (18+) found themselves in a bit of a barn-burner on Wednesday night as they hosted the Dallas Blue Jays at Reverchon Park in Uptown, Dallas. Despite 10 strikeouts in the box score, the offense delivered with 10 hits and one particular big one in the sixth as they ghosts were able to edge the Jays by a final of 6 to 5 in NTABL Open National League play.
The Blue Jays jumped to an early 1 to 0 lead after Matt Garrabrants reached on a one-out triple and later scored on an error by Spirits second baseman, Mike Werner. Werner would later make up for his miscue on the offensive end with a pair of RBIs in the bottom half of the inning as the Spirits exploded for 5 runs to take a 5 to 1 advantage. Lead off man, Cliff Brade reached on an error and ended up on third after Kyle Redinger followed with a double. Brade then scored on an RBI singel by Eric Goetz and Redinger followed home on a single by Holden Novak. JR Rivera went down on swings, but Werner’s double plated Goetz and Novak and the Spirits were up 4 to 1. John Showalter then singled and stole second after Carl Surverkrop popped up to the infield and Werner later capped the scoring in the inning after taking advantage of an error by the Jays catcher.
The Blue Jays cut the lead to 5 to 2 in the top half of the second when Corey Rupert hit an RBI single to score Dee Mauldin who had walked and swiped a base. The Jays then added a pair of runs in the third after singles by Garrabrants and J Soto. Jordan Herbert then tripled to score both runners and the Spirits saved face on what could have been the trying run after throwing Herbert out at the plate on a single by Zachary Freeman.
Blue Jays pitching held the Spirits in check and the Jays were able to tie things at 5 each after Grant Hunter reached on a Spirits fielding error. Hunter eventually scored on a single by Rupert setting the stage for an exciting finish. Heading into the top half of the sixth, the Spirits sent up the speedy Justin Anderson to lead things off. Anderson has struggled offensively in the early 2018 season, going 0 for his first 9 attempts from the dish. In this moment, however, Anderson laid the perfect bunt down the third base line and was able to beat out the infield single easily. A follow up single by Brade pushed Anderson to third and Redinger delivered on the next pitch by slapping a hard single to give the Spirits a 6 to 5 advantage. Freeman, the Jays pitcher followed up with striking out the next three Spirits hitters to kill the rally and leaving Brade stranded at third.
Spirits manager, John Showalter then turned to Novak to close things out and the hard-throwing right-hander delivered. Novak was able to get Mauldin and Jake Bellington to fly out, however Hunter followed up with a two-out single and then stole second. Novak maintained his focus, however and was able to get Rupert to ground out to seal the victory and to pick up the save.
“This is the type of play we expected in this league,” commented Showalter after the game. “We know these teams can play and that’s why we moved up to Open National. We’ve seen a couple of close ones the last two contests and there’s no doubt there will be plenty more. Our competition is getting familiar with our talent and that will make things interesting along the way. But I’m also confident in our talent as well, so we look forward to the challenges ahead.”
Newcomer, Carlos Soto picks up the victory in his first outing as a Spirits pitcher. Despite a solid performance by starter, Duane Aponte who went 4 innings, giving up 7 hits and 3 earned runs, while walking 3 and striking out two, Soto provided two shutdown innings giving up no hits and striking out 3. The Spirits will return to action on Wednesday, May 16 as they take a break over the Mother’s Day weekend. The team will host the Outlaws who are currently in second place in the league with a 4-3 record. Click here for schedule details, directions to the game, or to download the iScore Central app to watch and listen to the game live! First pitch is slated for 8:45PM at Reverchon Park in Uptown, Dallas.