(July 16, 2019 – Euless, TX) They were in the game for most of it. But a handful of poor decisions both defensively and offensively cost the Spirits (40+) squad a victory against the third place Spurs on Tuesday night.
After trailing early by a score of 3 to 0, the Spirits scratched and clawed their way back as the offense kicked in against Spurs starting pitching, which was initially off to a hot start against Spirits hitters. The Spurs picked up 3 quick runs in the first inning after Spirits starting pitcher, Bobby Kornhauser once again was squeezed by DFW ABA umpires.
“Unless the pitch goes directly down the middle of the plate, just above the knees in this league, it’s a ball,” muttered club manager, Shawn Lee. “I don’t get it. I never will get it, but that’s how we have to adjust. We have great pitchers that make some great God damn pitches and these guys constantly call them balls. It’s surreal. We love the league, but the umpires need to take a hike. Raise the rates and pay real umpires. That’s my opinion of it. If my catcher sits and holds his glove for 15 seconds after a pitch, you screwed up. You don’t have a clue and that’s that. I realize it’s amateur baseball, but if a guy is busting his balls in 100 degree heat and you can’t give him a corner, then get off the field.”
Lee didn’t mince words and he and the rest of the outfield could be heard as they attempted to support their team’s pitchers throughout the game. The Spurs picked up their first base runner with one out after Elvis Sanchez bunted for a single. Johnny Pichardo and Hector Aguilar both singled and the Spurs led 1 to 0 after Sanchez made his way to the dish. Robles drew a walk to load the bags and Kramer reached on a fielder’s choice that allowed Pichardo to score. An error by the Spirits infield gave the Spurs another base runner before John Hefner wasted a throw to second with two outs to allow Aguilar, who was sitting on third waiting for Hefner to make the attempt before he broke for home to score easily.
The score remained in check for a few innings as Aguilar picked up 4 strikeouts through 2 innings of work, despite a double by David Tipton that went nowhere. But in the bottom of the third, the Spirits offense came to life. Jack Nash and Eric McPherson reached with back-to-back singles and both runners advanced on a wild pitch. Stacy Scott grounded out, but Nash was able to score to put the Spirits on the board. A follow up RBI double by Kirk Sipila cut the lead to one run and despite reaching third on a single by Lee, Patrick Bilgere flew out and Tipton grounded out to end the inning before the Spirits could tie the contest.
In the bottom half of the fourth, Hefner singled to lead things off and after Brant Finchum flew out, Hefner was able to make it around the base paths after Kornhauser singled and the Spurs threw the ball around. Nash followed up with his second single of the game, but McPherson grounded into a double-play to kill the rally.
Tied, 3 to 3 in the fifth, things once again got silly with decision-making as Sipila, who replaced Korhauser and was pitching effectively was able to get the first two Spurs hitters out. Enter a combination of bad things that the team unhappily refers to as a “Spirits inning.” Adelaido Leyvo drew a walk on Sipila after watching several pitches delivered arguably near or over the plate. As Spirits fielders began to bark and express their lack of empathy for the blind, Adelaido went on to steal second base and then third. Hefner once again attempted to make a difficult throw with two outs and the ball sailed between third and short into left field. Lee gave chase and attempted a bare-handed play and may have had a shot at gunning Adelaido down, but he mishandled the bad throw and wasn’t able to come up with a play. 4 to 3, Spurs.
The game moved into the bottom half of the sixth with the same score and due to league game time restraints, the Spirits headed to the plate for their last at-bat. Bilgere flew out to lead off the inning, but Tipton found a single and was able to advance to second on an error by the Spurs left fielder. Hefner returned to the plate and grounded a ball to third and Tipton did a brief dance to try to distract the third baseman. Thinking the player was going to look him back and throw to first, the Spurs infielder bluffed his attempt to first and baited Tipton into running toward third. The consequence was an embarrassing and easy run down that ended in Tipton being tagged out like an intoxicated driver attempting the straight line test. What exacerbated the momentary lapse of reason is that Hefner over-rounded first base and also played a game of ‘which bag is best.’ The Spurs, still enjoying a brief grin over the play between second and third easily made a quick toss to first to tag out Hefner to complete the unlikely and non-traditional, 5-4-6-5-3 double-play to end the game.
“No words,” continued Lee. “There are decisions we make that are just simply bone-headed, but collectively we’re going to make better decisions with our roster as we move into the playoffs.”
The team heads into their final regular season contest tomorrow night as they visit the Renegades at Oak Grove Park, Field H. First pitch is scheduled for 9:00PM and you can click here for schedule details.