(October 11, 2017 – Plano, TX) The Dallas Spirits (Brazos) were put through another test on Wednesday night and passed with solid scoring as the phantasms defeated the second place Knights in NTABL Fall Ball Brazos Division play by a score of 7 to 2.
Jason Bottenfield and Shawn Lee led the offense with 3 hits apiece, including a double by Lee. Bottenfield also carried the squad defensively pitching 7 strong innings for the complete-game victory, which included just 2 earned runs off of 7 hits and 12 strikeouts. Things started off quietly for both clubs as Bottenfield picked up a pair of strikeouts in the first inning. Lee led the Spirits half of the inning with a double to the left-center field gap, but was stranded on base as Knights pitcher, Tim Trout was able to retire Bottenfield, Kirk Sipila, and Mitch Abeita to leave the game scoreless after one inning complete.
Roger Battani reached on one of his three hits on the evening for the Knights in the second, but Bottenfield and the Spirits defense kept them from scoring. John Showalter and Chris Lewis both singled in the Spirits half of the second, but again Trout found the right combination to keep the ghosts from reaching home plate. Dennis Gonzalez flew out to record the first out and the Knights were able to spin a double-play on a ground by Jack Nash.
Bottenfield picked up strikeouts 4 and 5 in the top half of the third just before the Spirits offense came to life in the bottom half of the inning when Carl Suverkrop led off by drawing a base-on-balls. Lee reached on an error, which pushed Suverkrop to third. Lee stole second and Bottenfield reached on a single to load the bases for Sipila. Sipila reached on a fielder’s choice that was good enough to score Suverkrop and the Spirits led the game, 1 to 0. Abeita followed with a single to score Lee and Trout was able to set down both Showalter and Lewis with strikeouts and appeared poised to get out of the inning. Gonzalez drew a walk however, and the RBI free pass pushed the score to, 3 to 0. Nash then proceeded to hit opposite field for a single that got passed Knights right fielder, Joshua Leveridge. Sipila, Abeita, and Gonzalez were all able to score on the play and the Spirits led the game, 6 to 0.
In the top half of the fourth, Paul Garcia, Jr. avenged an earlier strikeout by taking a Bottenfield fast ball hard over the left field wall to give the Knights their first run of the evening. Bottenfield finished the inning with anther 3 strikeouts and the Spirits rallied for another run in the bottom half of the inning after Lee and Bottenfield both singled and Sipila was able to reach on another fielder’s choice. Lee later scored when Knights left fielder, Haley Hougen dropped a routine fly ball and the Spirits were up, 7 to 1.
After a pair of Knights singles in the fifth, Bottenfield had a temporary moment of control issues, combined with a few suspect ball versus strike calls at the dish, and the recipe was good for brothers Brad and Joshua Leveridge to draw free passes, which cut the Spirits lead to, 7 to 2. Bottenfield readjusted however, and was able to get Garcia, Jr. to fly out to kill any additional Knights rally.
The Spirits defense was able to hold the Knights offense the rest of the way, including another three K’s by Bottenfield and the Spirits closed out the game with a 7 to 2 victory.
“Bottenfield looked great for us tonight,” commented Lee following his team’s victory. “He’s an important cog in the machine for us during Fall baseball both offensively and defensively, and it’s nice to rely on his pitching as well as we start to focus on the upcoming postseason. Our defense was solid and both (Chris) Lewis and (Jack) Nash provided us sparks offensively.”
The Spirits will return to the diamond on Sunday as they host the Thunderbirds at Graham with a 6:30PM first pitch. The Spirits defeated the Thunderbirds earlier this season by a margin of 17 to 3.
Waxahachie Autoplex Players of the Game