Spirits (35+) Double-Up Royals in NTABL Fall Opener

(September 16, 2018 – Grand Prairie, TX) It was a solid afternoon for baseball and the Spirits (35+) Fall baseball squad lined up with a few new faces and got back to business. The setting for the first NTABL Brazos Division game took place at the friendly confines of Texas Air Hogs Stadium in Grand Prairie, where the squad hosted the Royals Baseball Club.

The Royals drew first blood after a successful late run during the summer campaign by picking up a run in the top half of the first inning after Richard Campbell singled with one out off of Spirits starter, Jonathan Duran. Duran followed by drilling Chad Epperson with the next pitch and the Royals were in business with two on and one down. Duran was able to get Ravi Malick to fly out and the Spirits were poised to get out of the inning, but Christofer Pritchett singled off an 0-1 count and was able to plate Campbell before Duran was able to get William Dalrymple to fly out to kill the inning.

The Spirits rallied with a run in the bottom half of the first after Travis Hitzeman singled with one out. Kirk Sipila flew out to leave one on with one out and Hitzeman took off for second during the next delivery to Guy Koenig from Royals starter, Ron Glenn. Hitzeman was safe at second and would later advance to third after Koenig singled. Hitzeman was able to take home after  after the Royals defense attempted to catch Koenig swiping second. Koenig purposely put himself in a run down that allowed Hitzeman to score before he was eventually tagged out in the run down. After one complete, the game was tied, 1 to 1.

The Spirits added another run to make it, 2 to 1 in the second after Brant Finchum doubled. Finchum took third on a passed ball and Aaron Wilson was able to reach safely on an Royals fielding error. Jack Nash flew out and Bobby Kornhauser went down swinging before Johnny Hefner singled and plated Finchum. Glenn was able to get Eric McPherson to fly out, but the Spirits left the inning with a run scored and the lead.

The game remained quiet until the fourth inning when the Royals struck again on offense to pick up momentum and the lead. Pritchett drew a lead off walk from Duran and a single by Dalrymple put two runners aboard. Nathan Dalrymple was able to successfully bunt the runners over for a clean sacrifice, but Duran rallied and was able to strike out Glenn looking. Robert Trevino, Jr. played hero, however and followed with a single off of Duran to score both runners and to give the Royals a 3 to 2 lead before Duran was able to get Ted Morales to ground out.

The Spirits were in a rally mood, however and Wilson led things off with a one out single in the bottom of the fourth to give the ghosts a runner. Nash lined out, but the Spirits ability to keep an inning going with two outs picked up right where it left off during the summer campaign after Kornhauser tripled to the wall to score Wilson. Hefner followed with his second straight RBI single to score Kornhauser and the Spirits had a 4 to 3 lead before Glenn was able to get McPherson to ground out.

Duran set the Royals in order during the fifth and the Spirits offense unloaded for 8 runs to put the game out of reach. Duran started things off with a single and David Tipton went down on swings. Hitzeman and Sipila followed with back-to-back singles to load the bases. Koenig made it three straight singles to pick up the RBI when Duran scored and an RBI walk to Finchum scored Hitzeman. Wilson was caught on a ground out, but the good wood allowed Sipila to score. Nash followed by reaching on a Royals error, which allowed Koenig and Finchum to score and after stealing second, Nash advanced to third after Kornhauser reached on another Royals error. Hefner walked to load the bases for a second time and a single by McPherson slated two runs batted in as both Nash and Kornhauser were able to score. McPherson stole second and the throw by the Royals catcher was errant, which allowed Hefner to score and the Spirits led the game 12 to 3 before Duran grounded out to end the inning.

Hitzeman replaced Duran as the Spirits pitcher and the Royals had a little fight left in them before the Spirits eventually picked up the victory. Pritchett walked to lead things off and a single by William Dalrymple put two runners aboard. Nathan Dalrymple flew out and a walk to Glenn loaded the bases. Trevino, Jr. picked up another pair of RBIs with a single and Hitzeman was able to strike out Morales. A double-steal moved both Royals runners over and a wild pitch from Hitzeman allowed Glenn to score before Campbell grounded out to end the game.

In a final look at the box score, several of the Spirits left the stadium with two hits including Hitzeman, Sipila, Koenig, and Hefner. Hefner led the team with 2 runs batted in and Hitzeman, Finchum, and Kornhauser each scored twice. Trevino, Jr. led the Royals out of the 9 hole with a pair if hits and 3 runs batted in.

Game Box Score

Waxahachie Autoplex Players of the Game

John Heffner (2-2, BB, R, 2 RBI)

Bobby Kornhauser (1-3, 3B, 2 R, RBI)

Jonathan Duran (5 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, BB, 3 K; 1-3, R)