(June 7, 2018 – Plano, TX) The weather wasn’t the only thing to hit the fan Thursday night at Graham field. Thunderstorms rolled into the area just before game time and the Spirits (35+) squad had to wait out rain, thunder and lightning, hail, and high winds before finally getting on the field at 7:40PM. As it turns out, perhaps a rain out would have been better suited for the evening.
The Spirits mustered just 6 hits and left 7 runners on base and fell short to the Knights by a score of 6 to 4. Knights pitcher, Stacey Scott went the distance shutting down Spirits hitters. The Spirits, unlike the Knights could not find spots for hits in the 25 mph plus winds blowing straight in from center field. Scott gave up 2 walks and struck out one while pitching a complete game that went one extra inning before the Knights went ahead for good.
John Mahalik added a pair of hits and an RBI to lead the Spirits offense. Jason Bottenfield added a double and 2 runs scored, while Kirk Sipila added a hit, walk, run scored, and an RBI. Cliff Brade and John Showalter were the only other two Spirits to hit safely.
The Spirits picked up 3 runs in the first and appeared they put up a solid fight, however the offense quickly turned cold. The Spirits led 3 to 0 until the fourth, when the Knights picked up a pair of runs to cut the lead down to 3 to 2. The Knights tied the game in the sixth and the Spirits added a run in the bottom half of the inning to reclaim the lead, 4 to 3. The Knights rallied for a run in seventh, however and the game went to extra innings tied at 4.
Jonathan Duran replaced Spirits starter, Earl German in the sixth with a 3 to 2 lead before the Knights rallied to tie the game. Spirits manager, Shawn Lee turned to Mahlik in the eighth and Mahalik had some issues finding the zone after getting Casey Rush to ground out to start the inning. Mahlik then walked Scott McCain and McCain was able to advance on a wild pitch. Haley Hougen followed with a double that scored McCain and gave the Knights the lead. Hougen advanced to third on a ground out from Josh Kallail and a single by Scott Bale gave the Knights a two run lead heading into the bottom half of the eighth.
The Spirits made little noise in making a comeback as Lee lined out to center and Sipila reached on a walk. Sipila was forced out when Bottenfield reached on a fielder’s choice and Scott was able to get Mahalik to ground out to seal the victory for the Knights.
“Tough loss for us tonight,” Lee commented following the game. “The Knights were hungry, but I’m not thrilled about being their first win on the season. We’re defending champs and we have to bring it a little better. I don’t see much of a sense of urgency when we play Thursday nights and I don’t know how to place my finger on it. We’re lackadaisical and that needs to change. We need to take teams more seriously rather than waiting to ‘flip the switch’ when we need to. Credit the Knights. They wanted this one more than us and we just didn’t find holes. The guys hit the ball. We unfortunately just hit it to a defender almost every time. Hopefully this makes us little more hungry.”
The squad returns to action next Thursday night as they visit rival, Modoc at Jesuit College Preparatory. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30PM and you can click here to view schedule details, obtain directions to the game, or download the iScore Central app to watch and listen to the game live!