(July 17, 2017 – Dallas, TX) After taking one on the chin just a week ago, the Spirits (45+) squad rebounded for a win this past Monday night against the Dallas Bulls. Despite giving up a big inning, keyed by several Bulls hits and Spirits fielding errors, the Spirits used a big third inning and scored in nearly every inning to cap off a 14 hit, 15 run affair.
“We started off a bit slow again,” commented club manager, Shawn Lee, who filled in for team manager, Kirk Sipila. “After last week’s hiccup, it seemed we were right on track to follow that script again. We put up two runs in the second and then they worked us for a pair to tie it up and it left a few of us wondering, ‘where did our offense go?’ Fortunately, the guys flipped the switch and the third inning really ignited us.”
The Spirits were happy to see one of their solid hitters back on track, as Eric McPherson picked up one of his 3 hits with a single to start the top half of the second inning. He promptly stole second and scored after pitcher, Brant Finchum singled to put the Spirits up 1 to 0. Finchum stole second and advanced to third on a passed ball, while Dennis Gonzalez drew a free pass. Mark Leemaster then hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Finchum, and the Spirits led 2 to 0. The Bulls bounced back however, after Jim Crombie reached on an error and Lance Metcalf drew a walk. Chris Huggins reached on catcher’s interference to load the bases with nobody out and John Crossley then doubled deep to left field to score both Crombie and Metcalf. The Spirits avoided any additional damage when third baseman, Guy Koenig made the highlight reel by snaring a hard-hit ground ball down the third base line, where he quickly tagged out Huggins leading off of third and then relayed the throw to first to complete a double-play.
“We saw some great plays tonight from the guys,” continued Lee. “Too bad we don’t have video rolling. It would have been awesome to have those plays made by Finchum, Koenig, and David Tipton in the outfield tonight on some playback. Those guys played great defensively.”
With the score tied at two, the Spirits showed up in the top half of the third determined to get their offense going. Tipton went down on swings, but there were plenty of other swings awaiting Bulls pitcher, Scott Christiansen. Patrick Bilgere started things off with a single, stole second, and then scored on a triple by Lee that made its way to the left-center field wall. Lee then scored on a sac fly by McPherson and the scoring continued after Finchum singled, Gonzalez reached on an error and then Finchum scored when Leemaster singled. Koenig came out of hibernation with an RBI double that scored Gonzalez and both he and Leemaster scored on a double by Brian Hackney. John Holmquist then followed with a single and advanced to second base on interference by the Bulls first baseman, and he later scored on an error by Christiansen. Tipton was then able to score on Bilgere’s second single of the inning and after the dust settled, the Spirits were up by a score of 11 to 2.
What seemed to be a route, however, quickly turned back into a competition after the Spirits allowed the Bulls to put up 5 runs following a pair of Spirits errors combined with three singles and a double by the Bulls offense. The Spirits defense once again avoided tragedy after Tipton made a great sliding catch on a bloop line drive to right-center field, in which he relayed to second to catch a sleeping Bulls base-runner who was then forced out for a double-play.
The Spirits picked up another 3 runs to seal the deal before finally closing the game out with Holmquist striking out 2 of the 3 Bulls he faced in the final inning of play. With the 15 to 8 victory, the Spirits move to 9-3 in NTABL Masters League play. They’ll return to action next Monday night as the host the league-leading Dallas Orioles at Graham Field, located on the grounds of Prestonwood Christian Academy in Plano. First pitch is slated for 6:30PM.