(May 21, 2018 – Carrollton, TX) They don’t always start quickly, but when they do get started, the Spirits (45+) squad loves to put up a pile of runs. In Monday night’s match-up against the second place, Caddo Reds, it appeared that perhaps the outcome might be another 1 to 0 or 2 to 1 game. Both teams went scoreless in the first two frames during NTABL Masters League action at McKinnish Field #11 and it was the Reds who drew first blood in the top half of the third.
Todd Murrah reached on a Spirits fielding error and moved to second on a single by Huck Hibberd. Bobby Michaelides grounded out, but was able to push both runners into scoring position. Rod Hicks followed with a fly out and it appeared the Spirits might get out of the inning unscathed, but a two-out single by T.K. Hayes was good enough to push Murrah to the plate and the Reds had a 1 to 0 lead before Spirits pitcher, John Holmquist was able to get Rich Beller to ground out to kill the rally.
The Spirits responded like the typically do, late and in large doses, but it wasn’t until the fourth inning when Chris Lewis started off a big night of hitting with a single. Lewis was subsequently caught stealing three pitches later after spinning his wheels on the softened infield from a previous day of rain. Patrick Bilgere drew a walk and advanced to second on a passed ball, and later with one on and one out, Shawn Lee singled to push Bilgere to third. Lee stole second and the big left-hander, Earl German followed with a double to the left-center field gap to make it 2 to 1, Spirits. Eric McPherson then reached on an error and Reds pitcher, Stacey Scott’s inning grew longer after Jack Nash followed up with a 2 RBI double to the warning track in left-center field to make it 4 to 1, Spirits. Mark Leemaster then singled, and with runners at the corners, Brian Hackney followed with an RBI sacrifice fly to score Nash and the Spirits led, 5 to 1.
The Reds rallied for another run in the top half of the fifth following a pair of Spirits fielding errors, but the Spirits offense opened the game up with a 6-run bottom half of the inning and it was over less the crying. Brant Finchum started the fifth with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch delivered from Scott. Kirk Sipila then drew a walk and Lewis crushed a ball to the wall good for a 2 RBI triple.
Reds manager, Bill Macey then turned to his center fielder, Brett Baker to relieve Scott, but the Spirits offense continued. Bilgere reached on an error and then stole second, but Baker was able to strike out Lee to pick up the first out. German walked to load the bases and McPherson followed with a single off the very end of his bad that spun and hugged the first base line. McPherson was able to dodge a late fielding and tag attempt from Dan Sosa at first base and McPherson had himself an RBI, infield single. Nash walked to pick up his third RBI on the night and Leemaster reached on a fielders’s choice that was good enough to score both German and McPherson. Hackney flew out to end the inning, but the damage was done and the Spirits cruised to an 11 to 2 victory.
“Lewis was outstanding tonight,” commented Sipila following the game. “He’s been hitting the cover off the ball all season and it’s not going unnoticed. Nash has remained on fire and Earl had a great night at the plate as well. A big double tonight, 3 RBIs…great job. And a great job once again from ‘Big John’ (Holmquist). He held the Reds to 6 hits and both of those runs were unearned, so nothing on him for that. Solid effort and another complete game. Can’t ask for much more. We don’t always get started quickly on the offensive side, but when we do it’s usually big. Great effort on all accounts tonight!”
Sipila and his squad will remain idle for the Memorial Day weekend holiday, but return to action on June 4th at McKinnish Park #11 when they visit the North Dallas Bulls. Click here for schedule details or to obtain directions to the game, or to download the iScore Central app to watch and listen to the game live!