(August 6, 2017 – Plano, TX) It was a bit of a pitcher’s duel on Sunday afternoon, but the Spirits (18+) squad came out the victor with a few big hits from the team’s reliable sluggers as the club advances to the NTABL Open American League Championship series after sweeping the Tube Sox, 2-0 in the best-of-three championship semi-final.
The team turned to club ace pitcher, Craig Molldrem and got the support they were asking for as the big unit was able to hold the Sox to one unearned run, scattering six hits through seven innings of work, while going on to strike out ten Sox hitters. DJ Carrasco picked up the save by striking out 3 in the final two innings of play to help seal the victory.
It was the Tube Sox who struck first in the bottom half of the first inning after Jared Floyd was able to reach on a Spirits fielding error. Floyd, who appeared to give up on his at-bat, bunted to Molldrem toward the mound after being unable to catch up to the first three pitches he saw. Molldrem promptly fielded the ball and had an easy play, however his fastball to Collin Stacha covering first went high and Floyd was able to scamper to second on the play. Molldrem was then able to set down Andrew Scates with a fly ball, but Sox star pitcher and hitter, Fraser Holmes took an 0-2 fastball to the gap in left-center field for a double to score Floyd and the Sox led the game early, 1 to 0.
The score remained 1 to 0 in favor of the Sox behind solid pitching from Fraser, however Stacha appeared to have enough of this team’s egg on the scoreboard when he approached the plate as the lead off hitter in the top half of the fourth. Stacha promptly took the first pitch he saw over the left field wall through the incoming wind for a solo homerun and the game was quickly tied, 1 to 1. Kyle Redinger followed with a hard single, but Fraser was able to set down slugger, Mike Werner with a fly ball out. Eric Goetz then singled with one on and one out, pushing Redinger to third and Redinger later scored when John Showalter came up with what turned out to be the game-winning RBI as he plated Redinger during a ground out toward the middle of the infield.
The score remained the same throughout the rest of the game, with tensity in the air from both teams as the Spirits were eager to advance to the league championship series in their inaugural year, while the Sox looked to hang onto the semi-final series to stretch it into a third and decisive game. Molldrem went on to strike out 7 more Sox hitters to reach his game-high 10 strikeouts, and Carrasco mopped up any ideas of a rally in the game’s final two innings by striking out 3 more Sox hitters and only allowing only one batter to reach base on a 4-pitch walk.
“A true pitcher’s duel today,” commented Showalter following his team’s semi-final win. “The big arms looked great today and we did enough to get past a great team. Hats off to the Sox, they’ve got a great ball club and we’re proud to have gotten as far as we have so far. The job’s not finished. We set goals this season to be near the top and when we accomplished that, our sights were on a championship. Collin’s big hit couldn’t have found better timing, and I’m thankful that Kyle remains hot at the plate and was in a spot to score when I grounded up the middle earlier in the game. We’ll enjoy this briefly, and then it’s onto the Pelicans.”
With the victory, the Spirits (18+) squad will once again visit the friendly confines of Graham field as they’ll host the perennial power, Oak Cliff Pelicans in a best-of-three NTABL Open American League Championship Series. First pitch is slated for 2:00PM. Click here for schedule details or to watch the game live, online.