Spirits (42+) Rebound with Win Over Knights to Stay Alive

(August 9, 2023 – Coppell, TX) A six-run second inning proved to be all the Spirits (42+) needed as they went on to advance in the NTABL Masters (42+) League playoffs on Wednesday night with an 11 to 4 win over the Knights.

Jonathan Duran picked up the complete-game victory, tossing for six innings and allowing 4 earned off 6 hits, while walking 4 and striking out 3. Shawn Lee led the offense, adding a pair of doubles on the night, finishing 3-for-4 with 5 runs batted in. Eric McPherson, Mike Sopocy, Shawn Hunt, and Duran each added a pair of hits as well, and Ryan Marsland finished with a double, run scored, and a run batted in.

After setting the Knights in order over the top half of the first inning, the Spirits were able to load up the bags in the bottom frame but Knights pitcher, Tim Trout was able to get Earl German to fly out to stave off any scoring opportunity for the ghosts.

After again setting down the Knights in order during the second, the Spirits offense went to work in the bottom half of the inning after Sopocy, Hunt, and Lester Bedford each singled, allowing Sopocy to score the game’s first run. Duran and David Tipton made it 5 straight hits, with Tipton knocking home Hunt to make it 2 to 0, Spirits. McPherson reached on a fielder’s choice that squeezed Tipton at second base, but allowed Bedford to score, and an RBI single by Kirk Sipila scored Duran to make it 4 to 0. Marsland lost a battle on strikes and Lee’s 2-run double to the left centerfield gap scored both McPherson and Sipila to give the Spirits a 6 to 0 lead before Brant Finchum grounded out to end the inning.

The Knights clawed for a run in the the third and a second run in the fourth to cut the lead to 6 to 2, but the Spirits earned those two runs back in the bottom of the fourth after Duran singled and then was replaced at first by Tipton on a fielder’s choice. Tipton later stole second base and then moved to third after McPherson singled. McPherson then stole second base and Tipton was able to score on the throw to second to make it 7 to 2. Sipila reached on an error and Lee’s second double on the night scored McPherson to make it 8 to 2 before Finchum lost a battle of strikes to strand both runners.

The Knights again rallied for a pair of runs in the fifth to cut the Spirits lead to 8 to 4, and after making it interesting in the sixth by loading the bases, Duran and company were able to leave unscathed after Duran was able to get Michael Miller to fly out.

The Spirits tacked on three more runs in the sixth for insurance after McPherson singled with one out and moved to second when Sipila drew a walk. Marsland doubled home McPherson and Lee’s single up the middle scored both Sipila and Marsland to give the game it’s final score.

“Great job on both sides of the dish tonight,” Lee mentioned afterwards. “Fifteen hits should certainly help to get the job done. Looks like just about everyone in the lineup hit safely tonight, and I was fortunate to see my bat show up and help as well. Duran was solid on the mound and at the plate tonight to help us out, and Shawn (Hunt) was solid as well. Top of the lineup did a great job of being on base and knocking in runs. That’s a health combination to get yourself a win.”

The Spirits return to action next Monday night when they’ll face the Rattling Dodgers for a chance to return to the semifinal round and see who is headed to the league’s championship game.

Game Box Score

Five Star Ford Players of the Game

Shawn Lee (3-4, 2 2B, 5 RBI)

Eric McPherson (2-4, 3 R, RBI, SB)

Jonathan Duran (2-3, R; 6 IP, 4 ER, 6 H, 4 BB, 3 K)