Offensive Onslaught and Pair of 7-Run Innings Carry Spirits (50+) Past Aces

(May 11, 2024 – Carrollton, TX) It was a slightly slow start for the Spirits (50+) offense Saturday morning and the Aces were thankful as the final score could have been much worse. The Spirits started off with a pair of eggs in the first and second innings and then opened for two straight 7-run innings to beat the Aces with a royal flush of offense.

Like many games so far this season, the ghosts were limited to just 5 innings due to the league’s 10-run mercy rule and in just those 5 innings, the lineup of 13 put up 18 hits to cruise to a 16 to 2 drubbing of their opponent.

Every Spirits hitter reached safely at least once with 12 of the 13 hitters recording at least one base hit. Chris Allen and Shawn Lee each finished with a pair of hits and 4 runs batted in, with Allen recording a 3-run inside-the-park homerun on a shot that split the right-centerfield gap and went to the wall for an easy round trip of each of the bags. Both Allen and Lee scored once to add to their respective box scores. Several other Spirits hitters lit up the box score as well, including James Hardt. Hardt finished 3-for-3, adding a double, 2 runs scored and 2 runs batted in while also closing out the final inning pitching, setting down the 3 batters he faced in order.

Other notables topping the offensive statistics category included Kirk Sipila, who finished 2-for-2 with 2 runs scored, and RBI, and a walk, and Shawn Hunt, who finished with a pair of hits and 2 runs batted in.

Following a quick 1 to 0 lead by the Aces in the first inning, the Spirits offense finally broke through in the top half of the third inning when Stacy Scott led the inning off with a double down the left field line. Scott was able to move to third following an error by the Aces left fielder and moments later, he scored on an RBI single by Hardt. Mike Sopocy then singled to move Hardt to second base, and Allen’s inside-the-park homerun gave the Spirits a 3 to 1 lead. Vince Parello walked and Sipila singled to move him to second before Kent Fischer followed with a single to load the bags. Fischer was picked at first after rounding the wrong way and after Will Nash struck out swinging, Lee followed with a 2-run single to left field to make to 6 to 1, Spirits. Hunt followed with a single to score Lee before Brian Hackney flew out to close out the Spirits half of the inning with a 7 to 1 lead.

Spirits starting pitcher, Kevin Simmons had dialed in starting in the second inning and his work continued into the bottom of the third as he set down the Aces in order. The Spirits offense then followed with another 7-run inning to steal the life from the Aces completely. Jonathan Sessions replaced Aces starter, Craig Holmes as pitcher and both Simmons and Scott welcomed him to the game by drawing walks. Both runners were able to advance on a wild pitch and a second wild pitch allowed Simmons to score with Scott safely taking third. Another RBI single by Hardt scored Scott and moments later, Hardt was squeezed at second base when Sopocy reached on a fielder’s choice. After Allen flew out, Parello singled to push Sopocy to second and Sipila then singled home Sopocy. Fischer then knocked home Parello before Nash was hit by a pitch. Lee followed with another short single to the gap to score both Sipila and Fischer before Hunt singled home Nash to make it 14 to 1. Hackney was then able to reach on an error but Simmons forced Lee at home on a slow ground ball to end the Spirits fourth.

The Aces began to figure out Simmons a bit in the bottom frame after John McClintoch started the inning by wearing a pitch from Simmons. Ricardo Franchi and Eric Reifschneider both singled to load the bases and the Aces picked up their second and final run after Session reached on a fielder’s choice that squeezed Reifschneider at second when the Spirits tried to turn a double-play. McClintoch scored and after Sessions stole second base, Simmons struck out Holmes before walking Tava. Simmons then rebounded with a strikeout to Don Martin to close out the inning.

The Spirits added another pair of runs before Hardt shut down the Aces in the final frame before the game was called due to the league’s 10-run mercy rule. Scott lined out and Hardt doubled to start the inning. Sopocy reached on an error to load the bases and Earl German, a late arrival to the game, took to the box and promptly singled home Hardt. Allen followed with an RBI single to score Sopocy before Parello grounded into a double-play.

“Another great offensive outing,” Lee commented afterwards. “I felt like everybody played great today. We got (Kevin) Simmons some work on the hill and were able to get (James) Hardt an inning. We’re looking to rely on both of those arms as we move through the season. Hardt had a hot bat today and Allen and I were both fortunate to get hits with runners on base. When this team’s offense is clicking, we’re extremely hard to beat. I feel like this is one squad in our organization that won’t beat itself. Really proud of the way we played today.”

The Spirits return to action next Saturday when they visit Metroflex. Game time is at 11:45AM at McInnish Park on Field #10. Fans can click here for schedule details.

Game Box Score

Central Roofing and Restoration Players of the Game

James Hardt (3-3, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI; 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H)

Chris Allen (2-3, HR, BB, R, 4 RBI, SB)

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