Offense Continues to Crush as Spirits (50+) Roll Aces

(September 16, 2023 – Carrollton, TX) Finding players to put in positions on the ball field has been a bit of a struggle for Spirits (50+) manager, Shawn Lee as the team shows up for Fall league games each Saturday morning. The one problem Lee doesn’t have is offense. His team has been nearly phenomenal throughout the entire 2023 year, averaging nearly 15 runs per game and that average continued on Saturday as the Spirits unleashed a 16-hit, 15 run royal flush to take down a handful of Aces at McInnish Park in DFW-ABA 50 Fall League action.

Both Lee and Will Nash led the team on offense, each finishing with a 3-for-4 performance at the dish, each scoring twice, and Nash adding a run batted in. Lee added a double, an inside-the-park homerun, and finished with 3 runs batted in. Kirk Sipila, Mike Sopocy, James Hardt, and Stacy Scott each added a pair of hits as well as every Spirits hitter once again hit safely in a game with the exception of two. Sipila scored 3 times and knocked in a run, while Sopocy and Hardt both finished with a pair of runs batted in, with Sopocy also scoring twice and Hardt scoring once. Scott added both a run scored, and a run batted in as well as he continues to scorch the baseball, currently hitting 9-for-11 on the young season with an .818 batting average.

The Spirits jumped out to a quick 3 to 0 lead in the first inning after Sipila, Lee, Nash, and Sopocy all singled one after another, allowing Sipila, Lee, and Nash to score. Hardt flew out and Tony Sanchez drew a walk, but Scott made one of his few outs thus far this season after grounding out. Sopocy, who again took the start for the Spirits on the mound, once again earned a shortened complete-game victory. Mike threw for 5 innings, allowing 2 earned runs off of 8 scattered hits, while walking none and striking out 6.

“Mike has been flipping brilliant so far this Fall. Actually, all year,” Lee commented afterwards. “He rarely walks anyone and if he does, it’s probably on the umpire. He just knows how to pitch. He’s got enough to throw it past a few hitters in this league but he usually relies upon his command. He’s just smart and his numbers show for it. He’s going to be a valuable tool for us in Phoenix for the World Series.”

Sopocy was able to get out of the bottom half of the first after William Dyson reached on a Spirits fielding error with two out. Julio Perez singled and Dyson swiped third base a couple of pitches later. Perez moved to third on a passed ball but following a dropped third strike to Jaime Rangel, the Spirits were able to tag out Dyson to get out of the inning unscathed.

In the second, the ghosts added another pair of runs after Chris Allen and Jason Price both flew out. Allen and Price were both back after injuries kept them off the diamond. The team was happy to see both players back swinging and joining the team. Eric McPherson then reached on an Aces fielding error, and back-to-back doubles by both Sipila and Lee allowed McPherson and then Sipila to cross the dish safely before Nash flew out to end the Spirits frame.

The Aces broke the scoring ice in the bottom half of the second after Jose Martinez reached on a one-out double. A single by John McClintoch moved him to third, and after McClintoch took off for second, Scott, the Spirits catcher, sailed one into centerfield on the throw which allowed Martinez to score. Sopocy followed by striking out David Welsh and then getting Francisco Aguilar to ground out to end the inning with the Spirits up, 5 to 1.

After the dust settled in the top half of the third, the Spirits held a 10 to 1 advantage after Sopocy reached on an error and he later stole second. Hardt’s RBI single scored him and he eventually moved to second on a passed ball. Sanchez was hit by a pitch and a single by Scott scored Hardt. Allen drew a walk to load the bags and a single by Price scored Sanchez. McPherson followed with another single to score both Scott and Allen before Price was picked off at second base after falling asleep at the wheel. Aguilar, who replace Holmes as the Aces pitcher, was then able to get Sipila to fly out and Lee to ground out to end the Spirits half of the inning.

Troy Clemson singled and Dyson reached on another Spirits fielding error to give the Aces some hope with one out, but Sopocy was able to get Perez to fly out and later struck out Rangel to keep the score in his favor.

Another inning meant another pair of runs for the ghosts after Nash led off with a single and moved to second on a passed ball a few pitches later. Sopocy then singled and an error by the Aces right fielder allowed Nash to cross the plate before Sanchez grounded into a double-play. Scott singled but was later put out after Allen grounded out to the infield with the Spirits now leading, 12 to 1.

The Aces rallied for another pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth after Holmes singled to start the inning and moved to second when Martinez grounded out. McClintoch tripled to score Holmes and a single by Welsh made it 12 to 3, Spirits before Sopocy struck out Aguilar and Brad Petty to get out of the inning.

The Spirits then tacked on another pair of runs in the fifth after the Aces turned to Perez to close things down as the game neared the league’s two hour time limit. Perez struck out Price and McPherson was able to reach on an error. Sipila squeezed McPherson at second base after reaching on a fielder’s choice, and both he and Lee then scored after Lee crushed a laser to centerfield that blew past the centerfielder’s head and rolled to the wall. Lee was able to round all the bags for an inside-the-park homerun to make it 14 to 3. Nash kept the inning alive with his third hit on the day but Sopocy lost the battle on strikes against Perez to end the Spirits inning.

Clemons picked up his second single of the day to start the Aces fifth, but he was later replaced by Dyson after Dyson reached on a fielder’s choice putting Clemons out at second base. Perez was hit by a Sopocy pitch to put two on with one out, but Sopocy rebounded to strike out Rangel and Holmes grounded out to end the game.

“Great job by my guys,” Lee continued. “We’re hard to stop when we hit like this and if we don’t kick it around too much, we can typically put games away. They’re never perfect, especially on McInnish Park fields, but I’ll take that kind of offense any day of the week. It was also great to have Allen and Price back. Both of them have been battling off the field, especially, Chris. We’re glad to see them back.”

The Spirits return to action next Saturday when they visit the Freebirds at McInnish Park, Field #10. First pitch is slated for 11:45AM and fans can click here for schedule details or for instructions on how to listen live online!

Game Box Score

Central Roofing and Restoration Players of the Game

Shawn Lee (3-4, HR, 2B, 2 R, 3 RBI)

Will Nash (3-4, 2 R, RBI)

Mike Sopocy (2-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, SB; 5 IP, 2 ER, 8 H, 0 BB, 6 K)