(April 4, 2016 – Plano, TX) Tuesday night’s match-up featured the Dallas Spirits (18+) team on the road versus the Old Fashioneds and found the Spirits picking up right where they left off after an early 2-0 start in NTABL Open American baseball. The Spirits jumped on ‘Neds right out of the gate starting with lead off hitter, Cliff Brade reaching base on an error by the Old Fashioneds left fielder. Brade was driven in immediately on a double by Eric Goetz, who was in turn driven in on a single by second baseman, Mike Werner. After additional base knocks by Collin Stacha and John Showalter, the Spirits finished the top of the first inning with a 4-0 lead.
In his second start for the Spirits this season, Duane Aponte did not disappoint. Per his usual style, Duane kept the ball down and dancing. “That was a lot of fun,” Aponte mentioned after the game. “Good solid defense along with a perfectly called pitches by catcher Dana Donato makes it much easier to pitch in this league. I just threw whatever he called and the guys did the rest.” Aponte pitched 5 innings allowing 0 runs on just 4 scattered hits. Showalter later commented, “Duane has been at his best this season. We want to use him carefully this early in the year and he has made that work out great thus far. He’s pitching effectively and efficiently. Can’t ask any more than that.”
The Spirits also flashed some leather on one spectacular play to go along with some solid defense all the way around. Shortstop Nate Martinez was forced to dive to his right to snag a rocket two-hopper off the bat of Daniel Killilea. “I knew that since the ball was hit hard I only had one shot at it. I also knew that once I had it, I had time to get up and make a good throw to complete the play,” quoted Martinez after the play. When asked about the play Showalter said, “Nate has been a guy we can trust out there for years. He is a real athlete that will sacrifice his body to make the play. His play is both explosive and smooth.”
The good news for the Spirits was that defense wasn’t the only thing trending Tuesday night. The ghouls used their bats for some timely hits all night long, with none bigger than the 2-run home run hit to deep left center field by cleanup hitter, Collin Stacha. When asked about his moonshot Collin said, “I am just starting to settle in and feel confident at the plate. I am not thinking about my swing. I’m just going up there, swinging hard and letting things happen.” Collin was clearly confident as he was able to reach base 3 times, drove in 4 runs, and scored 3 runs of his own on the offensive.
With a 9 to 0 lead after five full innings of play, the Spirits turned to their bullpen. Dr. Jared Wood came in a threw a solid sixth inning, however the Old Fashioneds did manage to force across their only run of the night. The run was unearned as a the batter reached on a Spirits fielding error, but the squad was able to refocus assisted by back to back unassisted put-outs by Goetz at first base, followed by a ground out to second to end the only real threat of the night.
The Spirits added a few more runs in the top of the seventh to stretch their lead out to 12 to 1. Werner was called upon to close out the game for the Spirits in the bottom of the final inning. After allowing a couple of base runners via a hit batsman and a single, Werner settled in to strike out the side to end the game. “Going into tonight we had a plan to get Mike an inning out there to knock the rust off and that’s exactly what he did. Mike is a great talent and we will be looking to him this season to give us some relief duty. Glad to see him get the job done like that,” commeneted Showalter at the end of the contest. The Spirits return to action next Sunday as they take on league rival and the 2016 defending champion Oak Cliff Pelicans at Graham Field located at Prestonwood Christian Academy in Plano, TX. First pitch is at 5:00PM.
Waxahachie Autoplex Players of the Game