(May 15, 2017 – Dallas, TX) It was another long night for the Cubs in NTABL Masters League action Monday night, as the Spirits (45+) squad used a 15-hit attack to put up 15 runs as the team blitzed the Cubs 15 to 1 in just 4 innings of play at Reverchon Park in Uptown, Dallas.
Nearly every Spirits hitter hit safely at least once, including a number of players not typically filling the headlines. Center fielder, David Tipton and third baseman, Jack Nash stole the show offensively for the Spirits as the two each delivered 3 for 3 performances from the plate. Tipton moved back to lead off role for the squad and did so in perfect fashion. Tipton was good for 3 singles, a base on balls, 2 runs scored, and 3 runs batted in, while also adding a stolen base. Nash also contributed 3 singles, a base on balls, 2 runs scored, 2 runs batted in, and a stolen base. Both players had interesting moments defensively to also make the Spirits highlight reel before it was all said and done. With the game already in check, the Cubs made some noise in the bottom of the fourth inning when Harvey Carlisle singled and Dennis DeCapua reached on an error. The error unfortunately came in the form of a wicked bounce that was hit to Nash at third. The ball jumped just before Nash was able to field it, striking Nash in the face.
“Jack fought the ball and the ball won,” commented shortstop, Shawn Lee after the play. “That was pretty sick! I had a front row seat as I was backing up Jack on the play. It really took off from the lip of the grass on the infield, which is more of a ramp these days and he took it solid. We obviously tended to him immediately and he’s old school. Took it like a champ! We did some makeshift bandage work and sent him to the outfield to finish the game. He’s one of the tough guys and wanted to finish out the inning.”
While leaving two on with one out, Dave Wylie then followed with a hard hit line drive to the right-center field gap. Tipton, who had been playing in a bit, made a quick jump on the ball and was able to retrieve it at the very point where the ball was about to pass him and the Spirits were able to dodge a big play by the Cubs. Pitcher and team skipper, Kirk Sipila was able to retire Marc Patterson to follow and the early exit game was in the books.
“Tipton was the ideal lead off man for us tonight,” commented Sipila after the game. “That catch in the fourth saved us from a double and runners on second and third and really persevered the shutdown inning for us. After I delivered the pitch and Wylie took it to the gap, I was thinking double or possibly more. Tipton had my back and I felt like pitchers you see on TV when an outfielder makes a great play on a ball and saves you from a mistake. He really got on his horse to get to that one.”
The Spirits showed poise defensively despite being down a number of players out due to injury. Brant Finchum and Eric McPherson are both nursing hamstring injuries, while McPherson continues to recover from rotator-cuff surgery. Earl German remained out due to a calf injury, while starting third baseman, Guy Koenig remained out due to a shoulder injury. Starting pitcher, John Holmquist wasn’t available for play rounding out the Spirits missing pieces. The absences forced Lee to return to shortstop for a second straight game where he had a solid performance, and Nash continued duties at third base while utility man, Chris Lewis covered left field.
Sipila also carried the torch both offensively and defensively for his club on Monday night for the second straight game. Sipila held solid Cubs hitters to just 5 hits and one earned run, while walking zero an striking out 4 in just 4 innings of work. Offensively, Sipila aided his own cause with a pair of doubles, a walk, 2 runs scored, and an RBI. Right fielder, Dennis Gonzalez also struck gold offensively, going 2 for 3 with a double, a run scored, and 3 runs batted in. Mark Leemaster went 2 for 4 with 2 runs scored and a run batted in, while catcher, Patrick Bilgere contributed with a 1 for 2 performance, including a walk, sacrifice fly, run scored, and 2 RBI.
“Nash had a great offensive coming out party tonight,” continued Sipila. “He had a great night until that bad hop took out his eyebrow. He really plays the game with the passion and excitement of a young kid, and his presence is infectious both on the field and within the dugout. I’m really proud of his effort tonight.”
The win keeps the club atop the Masters League Standings with a record of 5-1. The team returns to action next Monday night as they host the Caddo Reds at 6:30PM at Graham Field, located on the grounds of Prestonwood Christian Academy in Plano.
Waxahachie Autoplex Players of the Game