(September 24, 2020 – Carrollton, TX) It was a little of the same for the Spirits (35+) squad this past week as the team had an opportunity to resolve an earlier season loss to the NTABL Veterans League last place team Thursday night at McInnish Park. But once again a big inning cost the ghosts as they went on to fall to the Dallas Mustangs by a score of 9 to 7.
Jonathan Duran pitched a solid game, going the distance allowing just 2 earned runs on 13 hits while walking just one hitter and striking out 4. Chris Lewis finished 2-for-3 on the night and was the only Spirits batter with more than one hit as the team finished with 9 hits. David Tipton added a double and a pair of RBIs alongside a run scored and Duane Aponte finished with a triple and an RBI. Shawn Lee finished 1-for-2 with a walk and a pair of runs scored and that essentially covered the box score on the evening.
Four different Mustangs finished with at least 2 hits with only one hitter failing to get a hit. The Spirits were plagued by defensive errors once again and if it wasn’t obvious by the pitching box score that showed 7 unearned runs, it was seen in the final column of the data as they finished with 5 errors on the night, technically 4. The Spirits led the game 6 to 3 heading into the bottom half of the fifth inning when the spark lit this game’s disaster started with an absolutely insane call at second base with the Spirits on defense. Lee fielded a toss from Spirits second baseman, Kirk Sipila and jumped off the bag and held his throw to first during a Spirits double-play attempt. From out of the blue, the field umpire called the runner at second safe leaving Lee and his team stunned.
“Honestly, no words. I asked him if he was joking. The man was 6 feet away as I literally stood on the bag waiting for Sip (Sipila) to toss me the ball,” Lee commented. Sipila muffled the ball momentarily during the play but made a clean feed to Lee at the bag. “I caught the relay, jumped off of the bag to my left to get out of the way of the runner who was about to slide and then was about to hurl it to first, but I realized it wouldn’t have been in time. That’s when he made the call saying I missed the bag. It’s bad enough that he blew the call, but the attitude that followed when I questioned it without any provocation was unacceptable. But it doesn’t matter. The call was blown and we had to live with it. I can’t whine about a bad call when I followed up with having a ball go between my legs. My level of play was just as bad as the he made.”
Lee may have been harder on himself than was necessary but was referring to a few plays later when the Mustangs had bases loaded and a ground ball in his direction could have been an inning-ending and rally-killing put-out. But because the inning continued, the poor judgement by the field umpire was only exacerbated after Lee bent down to handle a routine roller that could have got the Spirits out of harm’s way. Lee rose too quickly preparing to make the toss to second to end the inning and the ball rolled between his legs and into the outfield like a game-winning field goal being kicked in the NFL. The Mustangs went on to score 5 runs that inning and the Spirits were only able to rally for one additional run before the game ended.
“I’ll take the blame for this one,” Lee continued. “It just leaves a bad taste. I wish we had put up a better effort but we consistently play to the level of our opponent. We get two more chances to prove we can play with other teams in this league, otherwise we can pack it up and wait on 2021.”
With the regular season out of the way, the team now has the opportunity to chase the league title through a double-elimination tournament that starts on Thursday, October 1. The Spirits visit the Dodgers at McInnish Park, Field #11 at 9:00PM and you can click here for schedule details or to download the iScore Central app to listen to Spirits baseball live online.