(October 14, 2020 – Euless, TX) The bats came alive Wednesday night as the Spirits (40+) opened fire on Cubs pitching on Legends Field at Texas Star in DFW-ABA League action. Spirits hitters unleashed for 19 hits as they cruised to a 14 to 4 mercy-rule win to remain in the middle of the playoff race with one week remaining before playoff games begin.
Earl German took the mound for the Spirits and dusted off some of his well-known pitches, leaving Cubs hitters off balance most of the night. German went the distance, picking up the complete-game victory allowing just one earned run off of 7 hits while walking none and striking out 3 in 6 innings of work. Every single Spirits hitter was able to hit and reach safely at least once on the night. Shawn Lee, Travis Hitzeman and Stacy Scott each doubled on the night for the Spirits and the big name in the lineup over the evening was Bobby Kornhauser. Despite a slow and frustrating start for the Spirits pitcher and first baseman, Kornhauser recovered and fell just a double short of the cycle, finishing with a single, triple and in-side-the-park home run while adding 5 runs batted in, including the walk-off.
“Kornhauser was on fire tonight,” Lee commented after the game. “He may have been a little eager in his first trip to the plate and I know he was frustrated after getting tagged out while running for another player, but he found some laser focus and really hit the hell out of the ball tonight.”
The first frame went scoreless and it was the Spirits who struck first in the bottom half of the second after Dan Sosa remained on fire by reaching on a one-out single. Aaron Wilson followed with a single to put two on with one out and Kornhauser was out in front of curve ball from Cubs starting pitcher, Steve Kline and ended up going down on swings. Brant Finchum was patient through a 7-pitch at-bat that resulted in a walk to load the bases and Scott awarded that patience with a single that scored both Sosa and Wilson. German followed with a single to keep the inning alive, but Kornhauser was cut down after rounding second base while running for Scott and the inning ended abruptly before Finchum could cross the plate and give the Spirits another run.
Fast forward to the fourth inning with the same 2 to 0 Spirits lead and the Cubs bats found life. Moretz reached on an error by the Spirits infield and advanced to second after Randall Dick singled. Bobby Owens made it back-to-back singles and loaded the bases and a pair of RBI singles by both Rick Rosales and Kline tied the game at 2 to 2. James Greer flew out to center field and after Owens tagged and took off for him, Spirits center fielder, David Tipton made him a statistic after throwing a strike to home plate to gun down Owens and to turn the unusual double-play. Despite gaining some momentum through defense, Brian Dawson shut it down two pitches later after he recorded a double that scored both Rosales and Kline to make it 4 to 0, Cubs before Heath Baker went down swinging to end the rally.
The Spirits kept their heads up and picked up the offense a second time in the bottom half of the inning after Sosa led off with an other single. Wilson followed suit and with two runners on, Kornhauser blasted a triple to the left field wall to score both runners to tie the game. Kornhauser was then rewarded home and a rest in the dugout after Finchum singled him home and a double by Scott put two more runners in scoring position. German grounded out to the right side to record the first out for the Spirits but Finchum was able to score on the play to give the Spirits a 5 to 4 lead. Tipton flew out for out number two, but an RBI single by Eric McPherson scored Scott to make it 6 to 4, Spirits. Hitzeman followed with a double to score McPherson and Lee kept things rolling by drawing a base-on-balls before John Hefner grounded out to end the inning.
The Spirits held the Cubs scoreless for the remainder of the game but continued to pile on a bit in the fifth inning after Sosa reached on an error leading off the inning for the Spirits offense for the third straight time. Wilson reached on a fielder’s choice that squeezed Sosa, but enter Kornhauser once again with another big hit. This time, to the right-center field wall and good for an inside-the-park home run that pushed the Spirits lead to, 10 to 4. Scott and German both singled to follow and a balk moved both runners over after the Cubs turned to Randall Dick to stop the bleeding. With both runners now in scoring position, Tipton followed with a 2-run single to make it 12 to 4, Spirits before McPherson flew out to end the inning.
The Spirits added 2 additional runs in the sixth and ended the game due to the league’s mercy rule and in walk-off fashion. Hitzeman singled to lead off the inning and Lee drew his second walk on the night. Hitzeman was able to move to third on a passed ball and Lee stole second a pitch later to put both runners in scoring position. Hefner followed with a single to score Hitzeman a with Lee on third, Kornhauser crushed his third straight hit to the left-center field gap that ended as an RBI walk-off single but would have been extra bases had the game not ended when he reached first base.
“Solid night for a lot of guys,” continued Lee. “German was great on the mound tonight. We’re actually deep with pitching on this team, but the offense has held us back a bit all year. Tonight you wouldn’t think we were capable of such a phrase. Outstanding night for both Kornhauser and Scott on the offensive side. They both finished with 3 hits and Scott went 3-for-3. Scott also added a pair of runs batted in and scored twice, as did Bobby. They were big for us tonight!”
Hitzeman, Sosa, Wilson and German each finished with a pair of hits on the night to help lead the Spirits offense and Owens was the leader for the Cubs, earning 2 of the team’s 7 hits on the night. The Spirits return to action for their final regular season game next Wednesday night as they visit the Drillers on Arlington Field at Texas Star. Click here for schedule details or to download the iScore Central app to listen to the game live online. Stay tuned to www.spiritsbaseball.com to learn more about the Spirits and to follow them in playoff action starting next Tuesday night.