(July 12, 2021 – Plano, TX) The Spirits (45+) squad and organization as a whole continues to keep the DFW area on alert when it comes to high octane offense. Very few teams have found the recipe to shut down the bats of the ghosts and that story once again played out in real time against the Hurricanes on Graham Field.
The Spirits used 14 hits to score 15 runs and despite a absolute ghastly display of defense that featured 8 errors in just 6 innings of play, the team walked away with a 15 to 5 victory Monday night in NTABL Masters League action.
Shawn Lee led the Spirits offense after finishing 3 of 4 with 3 singles, a run scored and 4 runs batted in. Kirk Sipila added a pair of hits including a double, scored 4 times, and added a base-on-balls as well as 2 runs batted in. Eric McPherson scored twice with a pair hits including a double along with a run batted in, and Brian Hackney added a pair of hits with an RBI and a free pass to first as well.
After McPherson grounded out to start off the game, Sipila doubled deep to left-center and moved to third after Sean House grounded out. Sipila then scored on a hard-hit RBI single by Lee to make it 1 to 0, ghosts. Lee swiped second, but Hackney went down swinging to end the inning. The Hurricanes quickly tied things up after Julio Montilla reached on an error and then advanced on a wild pitch. Franklin Mantilla then reached on an error that allowed Julio to score to tie the game. Spirits starting pitcher, Brant Finchum was able to retire Raul Ponce via a fly ball and then struck out Mason Gann to end the first.
The Spirits then went on a scoring spree in the second after David Tipton doubled and moved to third on a wild pitch. He scored on an RBI single from John Hefner. Patrick Bilgere singled to move Hefner to second and both runners moved over after Chris Lewis wore a pitch off the elbow to load the bases. Finchum then reached on a fielder’s choice that squeezed Lewis at second but allowed Hefner to score, and one pitch later, McPherson doubled to score Bilgere. A single by Sipila scored both Finchum and McPherson and another RBI single from Lee scored Sipila to make it 7 to 1, Spirits. House and Hackney followed with back-to-back singles and House later scored after Tipton reached on a fielder’s choice that squeezed Lee at third base. Hefner flew out to end the inning, but the Spirits had an 8 to 1 lead heading into the bottom half of the second.
The Hurricanes rallied for another run in the bottom half of the inning after Eric Reifschneider reached on another Spirits fielding error. Michael Madsen followed with a single and Chad McCune then singled. Reifschneider was able to score after the Spirits threw the ball around little-league style, but Finchum was able to get Thomas Mohlner to fly out and Kirk Pruitt to go down on swings.
The Hurricanes then turned to Judge to pick up pitching in the third and the Spirits welcomed Judge with another 6 runs. Bilgere flew out and Lewis reached on an error and after Lewis swiped second, he moved to third on a wild pitch. Finchum drew a walk and Lewis eventually scored on an RBI after Earl German grounded out. McPherson then singled and Sipila drew a walk to load the bases. House picked up an RBI after drawing a walk and Lee scored both McPherson and Sipila after hitting a single through the shift to the left side. Hackney then drew a walk to load the bases again for the Spirits and Tipton made it another easy RBI with a free trip during the next at-bat. Hefner was then hit by a pitch allowing Lee to score before Bilgere flew out to end the inning.
The Spirits then turned to German for some pitching work and solid defense for the first time in the game allowed German to almost set the Hurricanes in order. Mike O’Hornett drew a leadoff walk and Brad Petty singled to put two on with nobody out. Tim Cook, who replaced Julio Mantilla enter the box and reached on a fielder’s choice that squeezed Petty at second and left runners on the corners. The Spirits were then able to get Franklin Mantilla to ground into a 6-4-3 double-play that ended the inning.
The Spirits were quiet in the top half of the fourth and the Hurricanes followed by rallying for 3 more runs after Mason Gann reached on a one-out error by the Spirits. Judge followed by reaching base on an errant throw by Lee from short which allowed Gann to move to third. Gann scored a pitch later on an RBI single by Reifschneider and after Madsen was hit by a pitch, the bases were loaded with Hurricanes. McCune then reached on a fielder’s choice that scored Judge and Reifschneider was also able to score on the play after the Spirits infield made another error trying to spin two. Madsen was forced at second and a pitch later, Mohlner ended the inning on a ground out.
The Spirits boosted their lead to 15 to 5 in the fifth after Sipila reached on an error. House singled and Lee flew out to the infield, but Hackney followed with an RBI single to score Sipila before Tipton and Hefner flew out to end the inning. The Spirits then turned to House to shut it down and despite another error that allowed the next Hurricanes hitter to reach base, House set the next three in order and the Spirits had their seventh victory on the season after the shortened game was called due to the league’s two-hour time limit.
“Solid work from the plate once again,” mentioned Lee after the game. “The errors? I have no words. We were terrible defensively. Fortunately and luckily, we just didn’t make them in bad situations that cost us runs. We can’t do that and expect to win every time. Thankfully the guys were swinging the bat. I was fortunate to hit with guys on base and for the most part, our lineup continues to shred at the dish. We’ll take it any time our offense can put up 15 runs.”
The Spirits (45+) squad returns to action next Monday night when they’ll face off against the Reds on Graham Field. Game time is 8:45PM and you can click here for schedule details.