(August 20, 2018 – Plano, TX) At the beginning of the game, you might have thought the Spirits (45+) better gear up for a game. The North Dallas Bulls jumped out to a 2 to 0 lead early off of starting pitcher, Kirk Sipila, but unfortunately the Bulls also had to await the Spirits offense which is averaging just under 12 runs per game this season.
After a pair of singles, a walk, and a Spirits fielding error the Spirits offense made it’s way to the plate down, 2 to 0 and immediately took charge with a 5-run inning. David Tipton started by drawing a walk on his busy evening on the base paths to lead off the game and later stole second. Brant Finchum recorded one of this 3 infield pop-ups to create the first out and a double off of the left-center field wall by Sipila made it 2 to 1, Bulls. Guy Koenig then drew a walk and Bulls starter, Jim Crombie had seen enough. He was replaced quickly by Paul Adams, who’s choice to pitch from the wind-up proved fatal. Koenig easily took second base and Patrick Bilgere then followed with a single to Sipila. With runners on second and third, Shawn Lee took the first pitch he saw off of the warning track at Graham Field, good for a 2-RBI ground-rule double. Lee then stole third and scored on a short sacrifice fly by Chris Lewis to give the Spirits a 5 to 2 lead before Jack Nash grounded out to end the inning.
The Spirits added another 5 runs in the bottom half of the second when Eric McPherson tripled to the right-center field wall to start things off. He later scored on a single by Brian Hackney. Nash was able to courtesy run for Hackney and advanced to second on a balk by Adams. Tipton singled to put two on with nobody out and both runners advanced on a double-steal. Finchum flew out for the first out and Sipila drew a walk to load the bases for the Spirits. Koenig flew out to left but the sacrifice fly was good enough to score Nash from third to boost the lead to, 7 to 2. Bilgere followed with a double to score both Tipton and Sipila after both runners advanced on another double-steal. Bilgere stole third and a walk to Lee put runners on the corners. Bilgere eventually scored on a wild pitch and Lee stole second, but Adams and the Bulls were able to get out of the inning after Lewis grounded out.
The Bulls added their third and final run in the top half of the third when Todd Brooks hit a one-out double to the left-center field gap. He later scored on a single by Harvey Carlisle. The Spirits then added 3 more runs int he third and 2 more runs in the fourth to cap off a 15 to 3 shortened game victory due to the leagues mercy rule that’s in effect during the playoffs.
Tipton finished with 3 hits and a walk, while Sipila, Bilgere, and Hackney also finished the evening with multiple hits. Sipila and Bilgere both finished with 3 RBIs on the evening. Carlisle and Adams each finished with a pair of hits to lead the Bulls. The team will return to action for round two of the NTABL Master League playoffs on Tuesday night as they host the Caddo Reds who were victorious over the Hurricanes, 10 to 0 in additional postseason play. First pitch is slated for 8:45PM at Graham Field 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.