(July 11, 2018 – Plano, TX) The win column had become elusive to the Spirits (18+) squad for a while. In fact, you have to go back to May 9 to view a winning box score. It’s not that the team hasn’t competed, they’ve certain done that in most cases, however the competition improved tenfold and finding a victory over the past ten weeks has been challenging.
The team picked up a tie back on June 27 and it appeared they may be righting the ship at that point, however a couple of close games turned out to be losses. Despite the challenges, the team fought to keep its head up and on Wednesday night, despite some challenges to get themselves a game scheduled, the squad put one together and defeated the Dallas Blue Jays by a score of 5 to 3.
Pitcher, Duane Aponte was solid in 6 innings of work, allowing 2 earned runs on 7 hits, while walking and striking out 4 hitters. Newcomer, Conner Camacho was ready and able and assisted with an inning of work to pick up the save, allowing no hits while striking out one in the game’s final frame.
The game started slowly, a typical NTABL Open National League pitcher’s duel before the Jays picked up a run in the top half of the third. Dee Mauldin flew out and Ben Gilman drew a base-on-balls off of Aponte. Anthony Cass also walked and the Jays were in business after Mitch Pavel singled to load the bases with one out. Aponte worked Tim Hannan to a 2-2 count before a ball got passed catcher, Teddy Croft which allowed Gilman to score from third. Aponte eventually struck out Hanan and was able to get Matt Garrabrants to fly out to kill the inning.
The Spirits answered in the bottom half of the inning after JP Seider drew a lead off walk. Carl Suverkrop followed with a double down the line that pushed Seider to third before Blue Jays pitcher, Corey Rupert was able to strike out Justin Anderson. A single by Cliff Brade appeared it may give the Spirits the tying run at the plate, but the Blue Jays were able to cut down Seider at the dish for out number two and it seemed the Spirits rally would be cut short. With Holden Novak at the plate and Suverkrop at third, Brade was able to advance to second on a wild pitch before Novak capitalized with a 2 RBI single to score both runners and to give the Spirits a 2 to 1 lead. Rupert rebounded and was able to get slugger, Kyle Redinger to fly out to end the inning.
The score remained 2 to 1 until the top half of the sixth when Gilman led off the Jays half of the frame with a single. Gilman was squeezed on a fielder’s choice that allowed Cass to reach safely and reach second on a Spirits fielding error. Cass made his way to third when Mitch Pavel singled and after Pavel stole second to put both runners in scoring position, the Jays capitalized on a single by Hanan that scored both runners and gave the Jays a 3 to 2 lead.
The Spirits answered again in the bottom half of the inning after Brade reached on a one out walk. Novak was hit by a pitch to put two on with one out and after both runners advanced a base on a passed ball, Redinger was able to hit pay dirt with a single to score Brade and to tie the game. Redinger promptly stole second with Novak on third and Novak eventually scored on another passed ball that moved Redinger to third. Croft drew a walk to put runners on the corners and Redinger made his way to the dish following a wild pitch from Rupert during and at-bat by John Showalter. Showalter eventually flew out and Ro Castro went down on swings, but the Spirits had a 5 to 3 lead.
Showlater turned to Camacho to shut down the Blue Jays seventh and he didn’t disappoint, setting down the side in order with a strike out to Jason Niswonger to end the game.
“Great effort by the guys today,” commented Showalter after the game. “They kept their heads in it and have kept their heads up for the most part during that long stretch without a win. I’m thrilled we found a way to rally and we just look foward to improving and putting together the correct combination of players and pitching to get us W’s moving into the postseason.”
Showalter and company return to action on Sunday night when they visit the Outlaws at John Paul II High School. First pitch is scheduled for 6:00PM and you can click here for schedule details, to obtain driving directions to the game, or to download the iScore Central app to virtually watch and listen to the game live, online!