(May 22, 2019 – Euless, TX) The Dallas Spirits (40+) have played some good baseball recently, but they’ve also played some pretty mediocre baseball lately. This past Wednesday night however, was made up of the good stuff.
Earl German took the mound for the Spirits and was solid through five innings of play before the shortened game was ended due to league time constraints. German went the distance, allowing just 3 hits on the night and only one earned run to cross the dish. German walked a pair, but struck out 3 as his mix of pitches appeared to be lethal to Rangers hitters.
On the offensive side of things, the Spirits used 8 hits alongside 11 free passes to first to cruise past the Rangers by a margin of 13 to 2. Nine different Spirits hitters recorded an RBI with 12 out of 13 hitters reaching safely via hit or walk. The ghosts used a 4-run first inning to get things rolling as Eric McPherson led the game off with one of his 3 free passes to first on the night. McPherson quickly stole second to give the Spirits a runner in scoring position and he scored a short time later as Stacy Scott reached on a Rangers throwing error. Scott then swiped second and the ghosts saw two on with nobody out after Kirk Sipila drew a base-on-balls. Shawn Lee battled a 7-pitch at-bat to strike a hard single through the hole between short and third that allowed Scott to score and the Spirits were up, 2 to 0. Patrick Bilgere went down on swings, but Brian Hackney drew a free pass to load the bases and the Spirits remained in business. Brant Finchum drew an RBI walk to keep the merry-go-round turning, but the Rangers starting pitcher was able to get German to swing at a bad pitch to stop some of the bleeding. However, despite being behind at a 1-2 count, John Hefner patiently watched his share of pitches dodge the plate and his free trip to first scored Lee to make it 4 to 0, Spirits before Jack Nash grounded out to end the inning.
German was able to get the Rangers to go 1-2-3 after just 8 pitches in the latter half of the inning and it was back to work for the Spirits offense. John Holmquist went down on swings to start the inning, but David Tipton singled and then stole second before McPherson drew his second walk on the night. Both runners advanced on a double-steal and Scott followed through with an RBI single to score Tipton and the Spirits were up, 5 to 0. Scott was able to advance to second on a Rangers throwing miscue and moments later, McPherson was able to score on a pitch that rolled to the backstop. Sipila followed with another all-expense paid trip to first and the Rangers saw enough of their starter and turned to Justin Harvath to mop up. Harvath was able to get Lee and Bilgere on swings to end the inning, but the Spirits had a 6 to 0 lead heading into the bottom half of the second.
A fielding error on a tough play at third for Scott allowed Ray Mullikin aboard in the second for the Rangers. Mullikin reached third after Chris Nichols singled and Tipton mishandled the bounce in center field, allowing Nichols to move to second. With both runners in scoring position, Jaime Esquivel grounded out and Mullikin was able to score to get the Rangers on the board. German buckled down on the remaining hitters and the Spirits closed out the second on top, 6 to 1.
The Spirits offense then put it on cruise control in the third after Hackney drew a lead off walk. Finchum went down on strikes, but German singled to push Hackney to third. Hefner followed with a hard single up the middle to load the bases and Nash picked up an RBI after drawing a walk. An RBI single by Holmquist pushed German to the plate and a ground out by Tipton added yet another run. One pitch later, Nichols overthrew his pitcher on the return toss from home which then allowed an attentive Nash to score and the Spirits led 10 to 1 before Bobby Kornhauser went down on strikes just after hitting the base of the wall on a foul ball hit down the left field line.
The Spirits added three additional runs to put the game out of reach after McPherson and Scott drew walks in the top half of the fifth. McPherson then scored on a single by Sipila and an error by the Rangers shortstop allowed Scott to cross the plate to give the Spirits a 12 to 1 lead. Lee then reached on another fielding error and a single by Bilgere loaded the bases. Hackney then reached on a fielder’s choice that squeezed Lee at third, but Sipila was able to score before Finchum again went down on strikes and German grounded out to end the inning.
Harvath doubled to the wall to start the Rangers half of the fifth and later scored on a single by Alex Wells before German set down Jonirecus McCants to close out the game. McPherson put up 3 runs on 3 free trips to first, while Scott finished 1 for 2 with a pair of runs scored, an RBI and a walk. Sipila closed out the night with a single, pair of walks, 2 runs scored and an RBI to round off the Spirits box score. Harvath’s double led the Rangers offense.
The Spirits will return to action next Wednesday night as they host the second place Rebirds (8-1) at 6:45PM on Oak Grove Park, Field H in DFW ABA play. Click here for schedule details or to obtain directions to the game.