(July 18, 2019 – Plano, TX) Offensive prowess remained in effect Thursday night at Graham Field on the grounds of Prestonwood Christian Academy as the Spirits (35+) squad put up a 13-hit performance to cruise to a 11 to 3 win over the Knights in NTABL Veterans League play.
Eric McPherson, Travis Hitzeman, Earl German and Chris Lewis each finished with a pair of hits on the night, with Hitzman finishing with 3 runs batted in. Shawn Lee finished with a double on the night and a pair of runs batted in and Jonathan Duran also doubled to highlight the evening on a night where every Spirits hitter with the exception of one player hit safely during the contest.
Defensively, German, Hitzeman and Duran combined to give up just two hits. Hitzeman relieved German in the fifth inning and struggled after picking up two early outs, but the runs essentially went meaningless as the team rallied to replace the three runs given up in the next inning of play. The Spirits scored in the first after Cliff Brade reached on an error and later stole second. He advanced to third on a single by McPherson and a single by Hitzeman was good enough to score him.
The Spirits offense then unleashed for a half dozen in the third after John Hefner led things off with a single. Hefner was quickly squeezed at second when Brade reached on a fielder’s choice and after sniping second for the second time in the game, McPherson drew a base-on-balls to give the Spirits two on with one out. Both runners advanced after a wild pitch that saw Hitzman swinging for a strikeout, but a double by Lee scored both runners and the Spirits led, 3 to 0. David Tipton followed by reaching on an error and a single by German scored Lee. After Tipton stole third base, he was able to score easily on a single by Lewis and the lead was 5 to 0. Duran then drew a walk to load the bases and German and Lewis were then able to score on a throwing error by the Knights catcher, who tried to pick off German at third. Grant Martin went down on strikes to end the two-out rally.
Fast forward to the bottom half of the fifth when Hitzeman came in to relieve German. Keaton Hougen flew out to start the Knights half of the inning and Hitzeman was able to strike out Tim Trout to give the Knights two outs. Hitzeman then walked the next two hitters and Scott McCain reached on a Spirits fielding error that allowed Dewey Leggit to score. Hitzeman gave up another free pass to first and then hit Scott Bale with a pitch that allowed Haley Hougen to score. McCain would score on a passed ball during an at-bat from Michael Kubick before he grounded out to end the inning with the score now displaying, 7 to 3 Spirits.
The Spirits rallied in the sixth after Lewis led off with a single. Duran went down swinging, but Martin followed up with a single after Lewis stole second and Lewis made his way to third. An RBI single by McPherson scored Lewis and Brade later drew a walk. After Haley Hougen came in to replace Tim Trout as the Knights pitcher, Hitzeman took the first pitch he saw to left-center field for a line drive single that scored both Martin and Brade and the Spirits went up, 10 to 3.
The ghosts added their eleventh and final run in the seventh after German reached on a one-out single. He went on to steal second and was then picked off attempting to snag third base. Lewis drew a walk and an RBI double by Duran gave the game its final score of 11 to 3 as Duran closed out the final two innings of play in relief of Hitzeman by allowing nobody on base and striking out two.
The win raises the team’s record to 4-6 in regular season play as the squad preps for the first place Cardinals next Thursday night at Graham Field. First pitch is slated for 8:45PM and you can click here for additional schedule details, including driving directions.