(June 5, 2023 – Coppell, TX) In what appeared to be a pitcher’s duel later turned into a blowout win for the Spirits (42+) squad as the team put up a dozen runs, all of them after two outs in the fourth inning as the ghosts coasted to a 14 to 1 win over the Knights.
Earlier in the season, the squad allowed the Knights to not only get back into a game, but to win it in walk-off fashion as they blew a 4-run lead only to watch as the nights walked away with a 7 to 6 win. With revenge on their minds, the Spirits started off slowly but opened the floodgates of offense, combined with some Knights mistakes to earn that revenge and then some.
Spirits starter, Ryan Marsland allowed just one hit and one earned run and the only hit he gave up was to Harlen McCaskey, who led the game off with a single. He moved to second on a passed ball and after Scott Bale flew out, he scored after Scott McCain reached on a Spirits error. Jesus Marquez drew a walk to keep the inning alive, but Marsland was able to get both Sean Smith and Javier Rodriguez to fly out to end the Knights half of the inning.
In the bottom of the first, Eric McPherson led off with a walk and stole second two pitches later. Shawn Lee flew out but Travis Hitzeman singled to move McPherson to third. Marsland’s sacrifice fly was deep enough for McPherson to tag and score and the Spirits tied the game 1 to 1 before Mike Sopocy grounded out.
Marland set the Knights in order in the second and the Spirits added a go ahead run in the bottom frame after Shawn Hunt drew a one out walk. Earl German flew out to make it one on with two outs, but a double by Brant Finchum breathed new life into the inning as the Spirits now had a pair of runners in scoring position. David Tipton was able to reach on a Knights fielding error that allowed Hunt to cross the dish and the Spirits were up 2 to 1 before Lester Bedford grounded out to end the inning.
Despite a walk to McCaskey in the third, Marsland was able to shut down the Knights scoring and the game remained quiet for both squads until the bottom half of the fourth. Brian Hackney flew out to start the inning but a double by Hunt gave the Spirits anemic offense signs of life. German flew out and it seemed the game would remain a back and forth of no offense when Finchum broke out for his second double of the game, allowing Hunt to score. Up 3 to 1, Tipton followed with a double to score Finchum and the Spirits were finallying obtaining some room to breath. Reminded by their previous faceplant, the team struck gold in the form of a Knights error on a routine play that allowed Bedford to reach safely. That error would prove to be catastrophic as the Spirits rallied for another 10 straight runs. Bedford stole second base and Tipton was able to score on an errant through by the Knights catcher that allowed Bedford third base. An RBI single by McPherson scored Bedford, and after McPherson stole second, Lee followed with an RBI single to score him. Lee stole second and then scored on a double by Hitzeman, and the Knights then turned to Matthew Lawley to pitch.
The move was short lasted as the inning turned into a Knights pitching tryout before it was over. Marsland welcomed Lawley with an RBI single to score Hitzeman and Marsland was able to take second on the throw home. Marsland took third after Lawley tried to pick him off at second and the throw was miscalculated by the Knights second baseman. Both Sopocy and Hackney were hit by consecutive pitches and after Hunt drew a walk to score Marsland, the Spirits were up 10 to 1.
The Knights made another pitching change, this time hoping Michael Kubick could get the third Spirits out. The result was a walk to German, scoring Sopocy and moving the other runners over. Finchum also drew a walk and the Knights quickly tried another pitcher, this time in the form of Sean Smith. Tipton made contact and was able to reach on another Knights fielding error that allowed Hunt to score. Three pitches later, German scored on a wild pitch before Bedford grounded out to end the merry-go-round inning for the Spirits.
Both teams went back and forth with runners reaching base before the game was called due to the league’s two-hour time limit.
“Not sure what to say there,” Lee mentioned after the game. “It’s nice to get revenge on a previous loss, but it’s tough seeing them meltdown the way they did. We know this meltdown very well and I’m glad it wasn’t us this time, but the looks on their faces. I know that pain. Kudos for our guys hitting and being patient when pitches weren’t making the plate. The box showed them for 5 errors. I believe it was higher than that but we’ll take a W anytime we can get one. Hitzeman was great tonight, finishing 4-for-4 I believe, and Marsland got the job done on the hill again with a little help from Earl (German) at the end to close it out. Finchum has a great night as well. Pair of doubles, a walk, run scored, and 2 runs batted in. Nice work by our group tonight.”
The Spirits return to action next Monday night when they again head to the field with revenge on their minds. They’ll visit the Reds and they’ll be doing it shorthanded with a number of top hitters and players unavailable for the game. Fans can click here for schedule details. First pitch is slated for 8:45PM at Cowboy Field on the grounds if Coppell ISD.