(September 17, 2023 – Plano, TX) Pitcher, Jonathan Duran had another solid outing, tossing 5 innings while allowing 4 earned runs off 6 hits, walking none, and striking out 4. He was aided by an inning of work by Earl German, who allowed one hit and struck out another as the Spirits (40+) Fall squad cruised to a 16 to 4 victory behind some heavy hitting in NTABL Brazos Division action Sunday night at Graham Field.
Eric McPherson and Chris Lewis led the way, each finishing with 3 hits on the night. McPherson scored twice and stole a base but Lewis had some demons to get rid of and he took it out on the baseball. Lewis finished 3-for-3, adding a triple that went deep to centerfield, alongside a pair of runs scored and a pair of runs knocked in. Shawn Lee‘s bat remained hot as well, as he finished 2-for-4, adding a single and a ground rule double. Lee finished with 3 runs scored and a run batted in, and added a stolen base as well. Every hitter in the lineup hit safely less two batters, and every Spirits hitter reached base a minimum of once when walks were factored in. The team welcomed back German from injury, and Jason Reyes added a deep double to left field after spending 7 years away from the game. Reyes also finished with a run scored and an RBI.
After Duran set the Hurricanes in order to start the game, the Spirits followed with a 3-run first inning to take an early 3 to 0 lead. McPherson led off with a single and Eric Goetz was hit by a pitch after McPherson swiped second base. Lee reached on an error to load the bases and after Will Nash grounded out, each of the runners moved over with McPherson scoring. Mike Sopocy also reached on a Hurricanes error that allowed Goetz to score, and Lester Bedford‘s RBI sacrifice fly scored Lee for the third run before David Tipton flew out.
Jamie Byers picked up one of his two hits on the night in the top half of the second, but Duran was able to get Johnny Sanchez, Chance Oliver, and Thomas Mohlner out to leave the inning unscathed. The Spirits then followed with a 6-spot in the bottom frame, starting with a line drive single by Lewis. Lewis, coming off a stint with COVID-19 and a respiratory infection has been battling to regain his health and stamina for weeks following a short stay in the hospital that could have ended up much worse. Needless to say, he was finding his wind on Sunday night and it showed each time he hit the ball. Lewis moved to third base after German followed with a single and later scored when Duran reached on a Hurricanes error. A double by Reyes sent home German before McPherson flew out, and Goetz followed with a double to score both Duran and Reyes to make it 7 to 0, Spirits. Lee singled and moved Goetz to third and after Lee stole second, Nash singled and both runners scored. Hurricanes starting pitcher, Eric Reifschneider was then able to get Sopocy to fly out and Bedford to ground out to get out of the inning.
The Hurricanes broke scoring ice in the third inning after Terry Helm doubled off of Duran with one out. Sean Judge followed with a double to move Helm to third, and an error by the Spirits infield allowed Astolfo Parra to reach and for Helm to score. Judge was able to score following an error by Duran, but he rebounded and was able to get Chad McCune and Reifschneider to ground out and end the Hurricanes inning.
The ghosts followed with 2 more runs in the bottom half of the third after the Hurricanes turned to Parra to pitch. Tipton drew a walk and a triple by Lewis to the centerfield wall scored him. German flew out but not deep enough to score Lewis but he later scored on a ground out by Duran. Reyes grounded out to close the inning with the Spirits leading, 11 to 2.
The Hurricanes added another pair of runs to cut the score to 11 to 4 after Sanchez and Byers went back to back with singles. Duran struck out Oliver but both runners moved on a passed ball and Sanchez later scored on a wild pitch before Duran struck out Mohlner. An RBI single by Kirk Pruitt scored Byers before Duran was able to get Helm to ground out.
The Spirits followed with 5 runs in the bottom frame to put the game out of hand. McPherson singled to lead things off and moved to third when Goetz grounded out. Lee’s torch that bounced over the left field wall scored McPherson, and then a pair of back-to-back balk calls on Parra allowed Lee to advance and score the easy way. Nash drew a walk and then moved to third on a single by Sopocy, and a walk to Bedford loaded the bags. Tipton reached on an fielder’s choice that allowed Nash to score and put out Bedford at second base, and an RBI single by Lewis sent home Sopocy. Tipton was able to score an error by the Hurricanes outfield before German grounded out to close off the inning.
Duran set the Hurricanes in order in the fifth and despite a pair of Spirits hitters reaching safely in the bottom frame, the both teams left inning five scoreless before the Spirits turned to German to close the game with the league’s two-hour game time limit coming into play. Reifschneider singled in the top half of the sixth but was put out after Sanchez reached on a fielder’s choice. He was then replaced at first by Byers after he reached on a fielder’s choice before German struck out Oliver to end the ball game.
“Another great night by our offense,” Lee commented afterwards. “Defense wasn’t bad either. We do pretty good when we actually support our pitchers and don’t kick the ball around. I don’t know what everyone is eating right now but I hope the keep it going because this team’s offense is on fire. Solid win tonight.”
The team returns to action next Thursday night when they play host to the Denton Expos on Cowboy Field at the Coppell ISD Baseball/Softball Complex. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30PM and fans can click here for schedule details or to listen live online.