(August 6, 2018 – Plano, TX) The route was made to look like a game by the time it ended, but the Spirits (45+) showed up with some heavy artillery on offense and combined that with a solid effort by pitcher, Brant Finchum to coast to a 16 to 7 victory over the DFW Hurricanes Monday night at Graham Field.
Finchum almost, and probably should have gone the distance as he delivered 5 scoreless innings giving up only 5 hits, walking none and striking out 5. The Spirits picked up their first run in the top half of the first inning when Finchum drew a base-on-balls to start things off. Sean House hit a rocket to right-center that died in the incessant incoming wind that rears its ugly head every single game at Graham to produce the team’s first out. Guy Koenig then followed with a single to put two on with one out. Hurricanes pitcher, Jose Guevara followed up with striking out Brian Hackney and appeared he might get out of the inning unscathed, but Shawn Lee delivered a line drive singled to left that was good to score Finchum and the Spirits led 1 to 0 before the rally ended with Jack Nash drawing a walk and Eric McPherson grounding out.
The Hurricanes offense appeared it may start quickly as well after Brad Petty singled off of Finchum to start the bottom half of the inning, but the Spirits defense shut it down quickly after Terry Helm grounded into a 6-4-3 double-play. Finchum was able to get Gregory Anderson to fly out and the Spirits went into the top half of the second with the same lead.
That’s when things turned mighty ugly for the Hurricanes. The Spirits ripped through their batting order nearly twice as they worked together to put up 12 runs staring with a single by Mark Leemaster. Leemaster stole second and then scored after Chris Lewis doubled down the left field line. Lewis then scored on a single by John Holmquist and a base-on-balls to Finchum get the bases busy. House then reached on a fielder’s choice that allowed Hackney (running for Holmquist) to score after Guevara made an error on the throw to try to pinch Hackney at third. Koenig followed with a double that score both Finchum and House and the Spirits offense was rolling. Hackney then took his place at the plate and struck a double that scored Koenig and Lee drew a walk to leave two runners on with nobody out. Nash followed up with a single to load the bases and Hackney was able to score for a second time in the inning after McPherson reached on another Hurricanes fielding error. Leemaster made his way to the plate for a second time, but this time Guevara was able to get him on swings for the inning’s first out. Lee was able to later score on a wild pitch from Guevara and Lewis reloaded the bases after drawing a walk. Holmquist later reached safely for the second time in the inning on another fielding error but the ‘Canes that pushed Nash to the dish and McPherson later scored when Finchum reached on a fielder’s choice that squeezed Lewis on the base paths for out number two. House was then walked and the fourth error in the inning by the ‘Canes defense allowed Koenig to reach safely and for Leemaster (courtesy runner) and Finchum to score. Hackney eventually went down on swings to end the inning, but the Spirits had a 13 to 0 lead.
The score remained the same until the top half of the third when Lee, Nash, and McPherson each singled. Leemaster popped up to the infield, but the Hurricanes let the ball drop which startled Lee at third base. Lee broke for the plate thinking he had to run and was able to score due to the fact that the Hurricanes second baseman failed to make the catch and the throw home. Lewis flew out for the second out and Holmquist reappeared with a single to load the bases once again. Kirk Sipila, who was late for the game and was added to the lineup followed with an RBI single to score Nash and McPherson later scored when Finchum reached on a fielder’s choice.
The Spirits were able to coast the rest of the game, but things got a bit interesting in the sixth when Sipila allowed Nash, a utility man for the team to pick up an inning from the mound. Although his delivery appeared intact, the Hurricanes didn’t welcome Nash to the game and took to offense like a gang of angry bees that has been disturbed in their hive. The Hurricanes rallied for 7 runs to closeout the game after a runner reached on a dropped third strike, 3 walks, 3 hits, two errors on the defense, and a sacrifice fly. The Spirits turned to House to close out the last two hitters and he was able to do so in 4 pitches.
The Spirits finish the regular season at 17-1 and head into the NTABL Masters League playoffs next Monday night as the league’s number one seed. The team will host the North Dallas Bulls at 6:30PM on Graham Field. 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!