(August 1, 2022 – Plano, TX) Fortunately the game meant nothing, but in time, it may start leading to a priority to win over the Dallas Cardinals. The Spirits (45+) squad once again fell to the archrival Cardinals, this time by a score of 5 to 3 to close out regular season play in the NTABL Masters League.
The team put together just 4 hits on the night, all coming from the two through four slots in the order. Travis Hitzeman finished with a pair of hits including a double to lead the Spirits, while Eric McPherson and Shawn Lee added the team’s only other two hits, each drawing a walk, run scored, and Lee adding adding a double as well.
Earl German was solid on the mound for the ghosts, but without any offensive spark his work led to a mark in the loss column after giving up just 6 hits on the night including a pair of walks, and a pair of strikeouts.
The Cardinals picked up an early 2 to 0 lead in the bottom of the first after Joe Lowry led the birds with a single and later scored on a double by Jerry Anderson. Anderson moved to third on a wild pitch delivered from German, and later scored on a ground out to make it 2 to nothing.
The game remained a pitcher’s duel until the top half of the fourth inning when McPherson led the inning off with a walk and then moved to third after Hitzeman singled. Lee reached on an error to load the bags, and Mike Sopocy reached on a fielder’s choice that squeezed Lee at second but allowed McPherson to score. Chris Lewis followed with a ground out that allowed Hitzeman to cross the dish, and the game was tied 2 to 2 before Brian Hackney went down on swings to end the inning.
Anderson played hero again for the Cardinals in the bottom half of the inning, this time leading off with a double and eventually scoring after Jerry Gamez singled to give the Cardinals a 3 to 2 lead.
Fall asleep and then set your alarm for the sixth, when the Cardinals make it 5 to 2 after Lowry draws a walk, and Kevin Fought triples to right centerfield. Fought later scored when, you guessed it, Anderson grounded out to make it a 3-run lead as the game moved into the seventh.
Hitzeman grounded out, but Lee doubled off of the left centerfield wall to give the Spirits a sign of life. Sopocy grounded out and Lee moved to third, and after Lewis reached on an error that allowed Lee to score and cut the lead down to 5 to 3, Cardinals reliever, Steve Stone won the battle on strikes against Hackney to seal the victory.
The Spirits start playoff action next Monday night when they play host to the seventh seeded Thunderbirds. Game is slated for a 8:45PM start, and you can click here for details.