Slugfest Favors Spirits (50+) Over Rockers

(March 2, 2024 – Irving, TX) Following a slow start in their first game, the Spirits (50+) came to life as the squad was able to put up nearly 20 runs as they were able to edge Sultanes Rockers by a score of 18 to 15 on Saturday.

Kent Fischer added 3 hits and 5 runs batted in while several others added a pair of hits on the day, including Shawn Lee, who finished with a double, 2 runs scored, and 4 runs batted in. Kirk Sipila also doubled while adding a pair of hits, walked once and both scored and knocked in a run batted in to help lead the Spirits offense.

The ghosts took to an early lead in the top half of the first after Chris Allen led the game off with a single. Lee lost a battle of strikes to record the game’s first out but Sipila followed with a walk and Will Nash later reached on a fielder’s choice that squeezed Sipila at second but allowed Allen to take third. With runners at the corners and two down, Mike Sopocy drew a base-on-balls to load the bags and a deep single by Fischer scored all three runners to give the Spirits a 3 to 0 advantage before Steven Nutt flew out to end the Spirits half of the inning.

The Rockers rallied off of Spirits starter, Stacy Scott, putting up 4 runs in the bottom half of the first after Caesar Acosta reached on a Spirits fielding error and Oscar Aloyo doubled. Scott hit Carlos Cruz with a pitch and a single by Edgar Diaz scored Acosta to cut the lead to 3 to 1. Ramir Escogido flew out but a single by Angle Garcia scored Aloyo. Jose Garcia followed with a single to score both Cruz and Diaz to give the Rockers a 4 to 3 lead before Scott and his defense were able to get a double-play to kill the inning.

The Spirits tied the game in the second after Dee Mauldin reached on a two-out single and later scored on an RBI single by Shawn Hunt. The Rockers were able to add another run in the bottom half of the second to take a 5 to 4 lead heading into the third.

The Spirits offense then rallied for another 4 runs to take an 8 to 5 lead after Allen led the inning off with another single. Lee grounded him into a double-play on the next pitch and it appeared the Rockers would make easy work of the Spirits, but a double by Sipila and an RBI single by Nash tied the game at 5 before Sopocy was able to reach on an error to keep the inning alive. Nash moved to third on a passed ball and Sopocy eventually took second before Fischer singled to score both runners. Nutt followed with another single and an error by the Rockers left fielder allowed Fischer to score before Kevin Simmons stuck out to end the Spirits half of the inning.

The Rockers tacked on another run in the bottom frame to cut the Spirits lead to, 8 to 6 before the ghosts opened up for 4 more runs in the fourth to take a 12 to 6 advantage. Brian Hackney was hit by a pitch to give the Spirits a runner and a single by Mauldin moved him to third. Hunt lined out and after Mauldin stole second base, Hackney was able to later score when Scott grounded out, moving Mauldin to third. Allen was hit by a pitch and a double by Lee scored both runners. Sipila followed with an RBI single to score Lee before Nash grounded out to closeout the scoring.

The Spirits lead was short-lived however after the Rockers opened up for a snowman in the fourth. Carlos Mendez singled and Scott hit Jesus Morales with a pitch. Acosta followed with a single to load the bags and the Spirits turned to Nutt to replace Scott on the bump. The Spirits were then able to turn a double-play that allowed Morales to score but a combination of hits, Spirits fielding errors and walks proved to be fatal before the inning closed. Diaz tripled to score Acosta and a single by Escogido scored Diaz. Angel Garcia walked and Jose Garcia singled the the inning remained live and well for the Rockers. An error by Simmons in the outfield allowed each of the base runners to score as the ball got passed him in the outfield. Luis Martinez was able to reach on another Spirits fielding error before Mendez doubled to score Arnulfo Gonzalez. Morales drew a walk and the Spirits then turned to John Holmquist to pitch and he was able to get Acosta to ground out to stop the bleeding.

The Rockers nearly set the Spirits in order in the fifth despite a single by Fischer and they later added an additional run in the bottom of the fifth to make the lead, 15 to 12. Fortunately, the Spirits offense wasn’t finished.

In the sixth, Mauldin reached on a one-out walk and after moving to second on a wild pitch, Hunt followed with a single. Mauldin later scored on an RBI single by Scott, and after Scott stole second base, Allen drew a walk to load the bases. Lee followed with a single to score both Hunt and Scott before Sipila lined out to slow things down momentarily. An RBI single by Nash scored Allen and Lee was able to later score on a passed ball. Sopocy then singled home Nash to make it 18 to 15, Spirits as the 6-run inning appeared to be enough for the Spirits to hold onto a win. Fischer was able to reach on an error before Nutt grounded out and it was up the Spirits defense to close things out, and that they did.

Sopocy came in to close out the game for the Spirits. He was able to get both Gonzalez and Martinez to ground out before walking Mendez, however he was able to add the exclamation point by striking out Morales to end the game and to pick up the win as pitcher.

“A little sloppy for us today,” Lee mentioned aftwards. “8 errors in the field won’t normally get you a win. Fortunately, we had some solid offense today, with every single guy in the lineup hitting safely at least once, with the exception of one player. That’s pretty good math. Defensively though, we have got to get it together. We’re playing like Little Leaguers. Fortunately we have guys who can rake at the plate, but we have to be able to put teams away. It’s early yet, so I have faith in our guys. Great job at the dish by a lot of guys, including Allen, Sipila, Nash, Mauldin, Hunt, and especially Fischer. Thankful they had their bats going today.”

The team returns to action next Saturday when host Metroflex at McInnish Park, Field #10. First pitch is scheduled for 9:00AM and fans can click here to view schedule details or to watch the game live online.

Game Box Score

WingStop Players of the Game

Kent Fischer (3-4, R, 5 RBI)

Kirk Sipila (2-3, 2B, BB, R, RBI)

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