(October 22, 2017 – Dallas, TX) Hitters around the Dallas area have probably seen enough of Spirits (Trinity) pitcher, Craig Molldrem, however the club on the other hand, can’t seem to get enough. For the second straight start in a row, Molldrem has completed a game by allowing no hits on his way to victories for both the Spirits (Brazos) and Spirits (Trinity) squads. Molldrem played as a substitute for the Brazos Division squad last Sunday, no-hitting the Texas Smokies. That game story has yet to be published.
Moving into Sunday afternoon’s game against the Dallas Patriots, Molldrem was also fresh off of becoming a father for the first time, as he and his wife, Maritza welcomed their son, Carter to the world on October 17th. Needless to say, it’s been a great week around the Molldrem household. The Spirits offense also appears to be peaking at the right time. The squad remains in a virtual tie for first place with a record of 7-2 as they await the Dallas Nationals (6-1) to complete their final two games on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. The results of those two games will produce the playoff seeding as fall teams prep for playoff baseball starting next weekend.
The ghosts unleashed for 9 runs in the first inning and the game appeared finished before it even started. Cliff Brade returned to action following an injury during World Series play in Phoenix, AZ and was unfortunate to wear the game’s first pitch to advance to first base. Brade quickly stole second and later reached third on a wild pitch while Mike Anderson was watching pitches to draw a base-on-balls. John Showalter scored Brade with an RBI-single and later scored behind Anderson on a triple by Kyle Redinger. JR Rivera singled to score Redinger and Duane Aponte drew a walk to keep the merry-go-round first inning going. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch before Patriots pitcher, Fernando Moore was able to get Mike Werner to fly out for the inning’s first out. David Tipton drew a walk as well and Patriots manager, Mickey Whitaker had seen enough and replaced Moore with Michael Paul. Paul’s welcome was short-lived as well, as Rivera was able to score on another Patriots wild pitch and Molldrem followed up on the 5 to 0 score by hitting a 2-RBI double good enough to plate Aponte and Tipton and the Spirits were up 7 to 0. Jack Nash then reached on a error that allowed Molldrem to reach third. It appeared the Patriots might get out of the inning after Paul struck out Brade, but Anderson singled in his second at-bat of the inning to plate both Molldrem and Nash. Showalter eventually flew out for the third out of the inning, but the damage was done and the Spirits led the game 9 to 0.
To add insult to injury, Molldrem went on to strike out the side to end the first. The Spirits went quietly in the second despite a single by Aponte, and a Spirits fielding error allowed Moore to reach base before Molldrem once again struck out the Patriots side in the second. The Spirits then went on to add 4 additional runs in the third after Tipton led off the inning with a double. Molldrem followed with his second double of the game, pushing Tipton to third and Nash followed with the third straight Spirits double to score both Tipton and Molldrem. Brade took a shot at getting his own double, but the fly ball was caught by a Patriots outfielder for out number one, however Anderson followed with the fourth double in the inning to score Nash and the Spirits led 12 to 0. Showlater followed with a single to put runners at the corners with one out, and a sacrifice fly by Redinger made it 13 to 0 before Paul was able to get Rivera to fly out to end the second edition of Spirits offensive explosion.
Molldrem struck out the side again in both the Patriots third and fourth innings, but gave up a base-on-balls in the fourth and again later in the fifth inning before picking up his 13th strikeout of the game. The Patriots were finally able to put some wood on the ball, but the ground balls were fielded easily by the Spirits defense to keep Molldrem’s no-hit bid intact. The Spirits went on to pick up an additional run in the sixth following back-to-back, one out singles by Aponte and Werner. Molldrem’s third double of the game following a fly out by Tipton was good enough to score Aponte and replacement pitcher, Ron Glenn was able to get Nash to fly out to kill any additional Spirits scoring.
Molldrem put the exclamation point on his incredible game and near-perfect no-hit bid by striking out the side in the sixth to give the Spirits their final regular-season victory with a 14 to 0 final. Molldrem finished the afternoon with no hits, 16 strikeouts, 2 walks, and a 3-for-4 performance at the plate with 3 doubles, 2 runs scored, and 3 RBI.
“What can we say about Craig? The box score speaks for itself,” commented Showalter following the game. “He’s had a great week with his newborn son and the team and the club as a whole couldn’t be more happy for him. He and his wife are really excited about their new son, and man, that mood must have carried over to the field today. He was simply incredible. Offensively, it was another great effort from all of the guys. We had to fill some shoes with a few substitutes today due to so many guys having other commitments, but we’re always confident using guys from our ball club as a whole. We’ve really surrounded ourselves with some great players; some great people, and we look forward to the playoffs.”
The team will remain idol until at least next weekend as they await the playoff pairings and schedule for NTABL Trinity Division Fall Baseball.