(June 14, 2019 – Mesquite, TX) The headline wasn’t a type-o folks. The Spirits (35+) squad had seen enough and that mounting frustration showed in the box score as the team put up a dozen runs Thursday night to take home a 12 to 5 victory over the Royals Baseball Club at First Baptist Academy.
The Spirits only managed 5 hits on the night, but patience at the plate allowed for the team to draw 12 free passes to first, good for 10 runs batted in to help seal the deal. Travis Hitzeman finished the night 1-2, with a walk, two runs scored and two runs batted in to lead the squad and finished the game with a pair of strike outs in relief of Jonathan Duran, who finished with the victory on the mound in just 3 innings of work. Duran allowed 4 runs on 4 hits, only 2 of which were earned, while walking 3 and striking out a pair of Royals hitters.
The Spirits started the game quickly after Eric McPherson drew a one-out walk and then stole a pair of bags. He scored later on a wild pitch after both Kirk Sipila and Hitzeman drew walks. Patrick Bilgere flew out, but Shawn Lee drew an infield single to score Sipila and a follow up single by Chris Lewis after Lee swiped second allowed both he and Hitzeman to score to give the Spirits a 4 to 0 lead. Lewis would go on to finish the night 1-for-1, with a walk, hit-by-pitch and 3 runs batted in.
The ghosts put up an additional six runs in the second inning after newcomer, Grant Martin drew a base-on-balls in his first at-bat with the squad. Martin, a left-handed throwing pilot for American Airlines has been working out on the side and spending time with the team as he looks to find a role pitching for the team in the near future. Cliff Brade drew a free pass to first and both runners advanced after McPherson battled an 8-pitch plate appearance to reach on a single to load the bases. Sipila then singled to score Martin and Brade was then able to score after Hitzeman reached on a fly ball that was dropped by the Royals left fielder. McPherson followed Brade home after Bilgere drew an RBI walk and Lee picked up his second RBI on the night after Robert Brown replaced Royals starter, Ravi Malick on the mound and promptly walked Lee to make it 8 to 0, Spirits. Lewis walked to score Hitzeman and the Royals finally picked up an out after Brant Finchum struck out. The merry-go-round rally continued after David Tipton walked to make it 10 to 0 before Duran grounded out.
The Spirits tacked on another pair of runs, despite handing over two runs to the Royals in the bottom of the second after Scot Jeffries reached on a one out walk and moved to second after David Waite singled. Both runners moved over on a ground out, but Jeremy Greene drew a walk off of Duran and both Jeffries and Waite were able to score on a single by James Maguire. The Spirits then made it 12 to 2 after Martin drew his second walk on the night and Brade followed by reaching on an error. Both runners advanced after McPherson grounded out, but Hitzeman was able to score both runners after he slapped a single to left field to give the Spirits back their 10-run lead.
The Royals picked up another pair of runs in the third to cut the lead down to 12 to 4 and later made it 12 to 5 after Maguire scored on a wild pitch by Hitzeman, but due to time constraints the game was called and the Spirits left with their first win in NTABL Veterans League play.
“Things were a little sloppy tonight,” Lee commented following the game. “But a win is a win and we’re just happy to see that the offense was clicking a bit and the guys were solid defensively. It’s a step in the right direction and we’ll use the momentum to look forward to the next contest.”
The team returns to action next Thursday night when they host the Dallas Cardinals once again at First Baptist Academy. First pitch is scheduled for 6:45PM and you can click here for schedule details.