Spirits (40+) Offense Continues to Own Second Inning

(March 29, 2023 – Euless, TX) For the second straight game, the Spirits (40+) offense chose the second inning as the inning to go big. The team put up six runs in its most recent DFW-ABA 40 League match-up, this time against the Killer Bees. After putting up 8 runs in the second during the previous game, the Spirits offense rallied for 6 runs in the bottom half of the second to cruise to an 8 to 3 win over the Bees last Wednesday night.

With a handful of “mouths to feed” in the lineup, the team got it done by turning the order to get the most out of it. Assisted by 9 Killer Bees walks, the team showed some patience and took advantage of scoring opportunities to pick up the victory. Duane Aponte led the offense with a pair of hits, adding a walk, a run scored, and an RBI before his night was finished. Recently new father of a baby girl, Cliff Brade added a hit, 2 walks, a run scored, and a pair of runs batted in. He was joined by Stacy Scott, who also walked twice, added a hit, scored once, and added two more runs batted in.

On the hill it was once again, Jonathan Duran doing the work. He picked up another complete-game win, this time tossing 7 innings while allowing just 2 earned runs off 6 hits, while walking 2 and striking out 3. Duran also walked once on the offensive side of the diamond, adding a run scored and an RBI.

After a quiet inning and a half with Duran setting the Bees in order for two straight, the Spirits offense began to thrive. Mike Sopocy, Earl German, and Aponte each drew a walk to instantly load the bases for the Spirits. Scott singled home both Sopocy and German and the Spirits were up, 2 to 0. David Tipton also drew a walk and Duran made it back-to-back, picking up an easy RBI when Aponte crossed the plate. Brant Finchum then reached on a fielder’s choice that put Duran out at second but allowed Scott to score to make it, 4 to 0 Spirits. Chris Lewis drew a walk and at at that point, the Bees turned to Chris Jimenez to replace starter, Steve Kline at pitcher.

Brade welcomed Jimenez by drawing a walk for an easy RBI, and McPherson made it 6 to 0, Spirits after reaching on a fielder’s choice that put out Lewis at third but allowed Finchum to score. Kirk Sipila singled to keep the inning alive, but with bases juiced, Hitzeman grounded out to kill the big inning.

The Bees went down quietly in the third and the Spirits added a seventh run in the bottom frame after Hunt led off by reaching on an error. Sopocy stuck out swinging and Hunt was able to move over on a wild pitch. German flew out but Aponte came through with an RBI single to score Hunt to make it 7 to 0, Spirits before Scott flew out to end the inning.

In the bottom half of the fourth, Duran and Finchum both singled with one out and Lewis flew out for out number two. Brade followed with an RBI single and the Spirits were up 8 to 0 before McPherson flew out to end the inning. As the game wound down with the Spirits in the driver’s seat, the Bees picked up their first run after Doug Poe reached on a fielder’s choice and eventually scored after Kline doubled and Trocchio singled him home. Duran was able to get Luis Jaime to ground out to stop the scoring opportunity.

The Bees rallied for another pair of runs in the seventh as the Spirits appeared to have a foot out the door a bit too early. Sammy Vives led off with a single and moved to second after Duran walked Poe. Jimenez singled to score Vives but the Spirits were able to pick off Poe trying to reach third. Kline singled to score Jimenez but was squeezed at second after Trocchio reached on a fielder’s choice. For some reason Trocchio broke for second with two outs and down five runs and he was promptly gunned down by Hunt on the steal attempt to end the game.

“Great job by the guys tonight,” Sipila mentioned after the game. “We struck early, played well and kind of started to slip there at the end, taking for granted we were coasting. They have a few solid hitters on that team, so we don’t necessarily want to fall asleep, but we closed up shop and got out of there with a nice win. Great job on the hill tonight by Duran. Aponte hit well tonight too. I think he reached all 3 times he was up.”

The Spirits return to action next Wednesday night when they’ll face the Fighting Chihuahuas. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30PM on Legends Field at Texas Star. Click here for schedule details or to download the iScore Central app to listen to the game live online.

Game Box Score

Next Level Sports Apparel Players of the Game

Duane Aponte (2-2, R, RBI, BB)

Cliff Brade (1-1, 2 RBI, 2 BB)

Jonathan Duran (1-2, R, RBI, BB; 7 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K)