(October 1, 2017 – Plano, TX) The Spirits (Trinity) fall baseball squad got back to its winnings ways on Sunday afternoon after they rallied and put away the Texas Renegades with an 11 to 2 victory at Carpenter Park in Plano. The win keeps the team in a virtual tie for first in the NTABL Fall Baseball Trinity Division, where they share the lead along with the Pelicans and The Dark Horse.
Renegades pitcher and team manager, Nathan Hernandez found a way to keep the Spirits bats quiet for the first several innings of play after he was able to get Teddy Croft to fly out and then struck out John Showalter. Hernandez was then able to get Mike Werner to line out to end the Spirits first, despite allowing a runner to reach after hitting Eric Goetz with a pitch. Spirits club ace and NTABL award-winning pitcher, Craig Molldrem returned the favor to Renegades hitters after adding a pair of strikeouts in the bottom half of the first despite giving up a free pass to Jordan Wooley.
The Spirits went in order in the second and Molldrem followed suit with another pair of strikeouts in the bottom half to keep the game scoreless, however the Spirits offense found a way to break through the ice in top half of the third when Antonio Nichols singled to start the inning. Kyle Redinger followed with a single and pushed Nichols to third and the ghosts were in business with runners at the corners and nobody out. Nichols was able to score two pitches later when additional newcomer, JR Rivera singled and the Spirits led, 1 to 0. Croft lined out for out number one and Goetz followed with a ground out to push Redinger to third, however Martinez was able to get Showalter to fly out to kill the Spirits rally.
The score remained in check until the bottom half of the fourth inning when Wooley led off the Renegades inning with a single. Jake Gibb also singled and Molldrem retaliated to strike out Zach Wooley, leaving two on with one out. Kent Fisher singled to load the bases and Jordan Wooley scored when Hernandez reached on a fielder’s choice that squeezed Fisher at second for the second out of the inning. Charles Johnson then reached on a Spirits fielding error to load the bases, and an RBI single by Justin Parker gave the Renegades a 2 to 0 lead before Molldrem struck out Brandon King to kill the rally.
Both the Spirits and the Renegades went down in order in the fifth and it appeared the Spirits may be running out of time to edge out a victory. That’s when all offensive hell broke lose, starting with Croft leading off by reaching on a Renegades fielding error. It appeared the third time through the order was a charm and all the Spirits offense needed as facing Hernandez for the third time did not favor the Renegades pitcher. Goetz followed with a single to put two on and nobody out and Croft was able to score after Showalter reached on yet another Renegades fielding error. Showalter promptly stole second putting runners in scoring position and Werner followed with an RBI single to score Goetz. Werner took second base and the Renegades attempted to pick him off and the decision provided an opportunity for Showalter to take off for home. After both runners slid in safely, the Spirits led the game 4 to 2. The rally continued after Molldrem doubled to score Werner. Hernandez composed himself to get Adam Brown to ground out and Justin Anderson on strikes, however Nichols followed with a two-out single to score Molldrem. Redinger then reached on an error and a double by JR Rivera was good to score both Nichols and Redinger. The offensive flood gates remained open for Croft, who also doubled in his second appearance of the inning, good to score Rivera and the Spirits led the game 9 to 2. Hernandez was able to get Goetz to ground out, but the damage was implemented and the Renegades never recovered, no kept the composure.
A battle of words between players in the remaining inning an a half only antagonized the Spirits, as they held their own defensively, gaining momentum after Croft gunned down Zach Wooley on attempted two-out swiping of second following a single off of Molldrem. The Spirits then picked up a pair of insurance runs in the seventh after a Showalter single and a walk delivered to Molldrem. Showalter later scored on an RBI single by Anderson and Molldrem made his way home on an RBI single from Nichols.
Molldrem added the exclamation point with a pair of strikeouts in the bottom of the seventh and the Spirits coasted with an 11 to 2 victory behind 10 strikeouts from the Spirits pitcher and a 3-RBI performance from the newcomer, Nichols.
“We had a slow start today, but we kept our heads both on and off the field today,” commented Showalter after his team’s victory. “I believe everyone hit today, with the exception of one and we were solid on defense behind Craig. (Antonio) Nichols and (JR) Rivera hit the heck out of the ball today and so did Craig so we’re thankful for their efforts today. The Renegades have a strong team and we’re familiar with their stature from summer baseball. I’m sure they’ll be in the thick of it come playoff time. We’ll walk away happy with this one and prepare for the Patriots on Tuesday.”
The team returns to action Tuesday night as they visit the Patriots at Graham Field in Plano. Click here for schedule details or to watch the game live, online.