(May 1, 2019 – Euless, TX) There was a storm brewing Wednesday night, both in the skies over the Dallas/Forth Worth metroplex and another one brewing behind the dish on Arlington Field at Texas Star as the Spirits (40+) squad looked to avenge an earlier season loss to the Drillers. Thunderstorms threatened game play and before the skies would open and trigger a shortened game, the Spirits patience was triggered by their offense leaving runners on base.
In just four innings played, the ghosts left 9 runners on base and squandered solid opportunities to score runs to give the Drillers a game. What’s worse, is the Spirits turned to lefty, Bobby Kornhauser defensively and Kornhauser looked fantastic. However, the problem was that nobody in the park could convince the home plate umpire what a strike was and it cost the team severely. Kornhauser couldn’t seem to miss, mixing up a solid arsenal of fastballs, off-speed pitches and sliders that clearly captured corners of the plate, but time and time again were called balls.
“I seriously have no words,” commented one of the Spirits players following the game. “For a moment he seemed to be squeezing the plate, but after an inning or two, I don’t believe he understood how to call a strike. You’re told not to blame the umpire or to adjust, but if you don’t get a call your only choice is to throw it straight down the middle and frankly, that’s the only one that would get called and that pitch wasn’t even a certainty. When you have players that think they’ve struck out and begin to step toward the dugout, then turn back, smile and dig back in? That’s sad.”
The horrid ability of the plate umpire affected both teams, however it was the Spirits that failed to capitalize when runners were on base. The Drillers were able to utilize the zone to draw 3 straight walks in the second inning and went on to put up 3 runs. They then went on to add 2 more runs in the third to make it 5 to 0 and a Spirits fielding error the fourth allowed the sixth run to score.
Eric McPherson singled with one out in the latter half of the fourth and advanced to second after Jack Nash walked. David Tipton grounded out to move the runners over and three pitches later, McPherson scampered home on a wild pitch from Drillers starter, Mike Ellis. The skies opened up shortly thereafter and the shortened game was put in the books as another loss for the Spirits, this time by a score of, 6 to 1.
Kornhauser went on to pitch 3 complete, allowing 3 earned on 4 hits, while walking 5 and striking out 6. Ellis finished with the victory, allowing one run on 5 hits, walked 5 and struck out 6 as well. Kirk Sipila finished the night with a pair of hits for the Spirits, while Shawn Lee, Tipton and McPherson each finished the night with a hit as well.
“We’re not going to make up excuses for losing,” commented Lee after the game. “We’re not playing good baseball right now and we know it. We’re not blaming the umpire for losing, but I’m not going to candy-coat it either. He was awful. But it doesn’t give us an excuse to complain and point fingers. We have to get it done. We need to hit with runners in scoring position. We need to keep our heads up. We’re not playing like a championship caliber team and we know it. We’ll keep working though. That’s all we can do.”
The loss drops the team to 3-4 in DFW ABA League play near the season’s midway point. The team returns to action next Wednesday night as they visit the Renegades (1-7) at Oak Grove Park, Field H in Grapevine. First pitch is slated for 9:00PM and you can click here for schedule details.