(April 19, 2021 – Dallas, TX) The Spirits (45+) offense was located after a brief hiatus and as it turns out, the squad was taken off of life support and injected with adrenaline in the form of 17 hits that turned into a 17 to 0 routing of the Dallas Bulls on Monday night.
Every Spirits hitter, with the exception of one player hit safely as the game ended early with the Bulls throwing in the white flag. Earl German was ridiculous with his speed and control over 4 innings of work, consistently keeping Bulls hitters off balance and twice finishing innings on just 6 pitches thrown. German finished allowing one hit, no walks, and 2 strikeouts as Sean House cleaned up the final inning of play with two strikeouts of his own. The two pitchers combined for a scoreless, one-hit victory with 4 Ks.
At the plate, both Jason Bottenfield and German finished perfectly, each hitting 3-for-3 with Bottenfield adding a double, 3 runs scored, and 2 RBIs. German added a run scored and an RBI as well. Travis Hitzeman was responsible for 4 runs batted in alongside his 2 hits and one walk, and Kirk Sipila, David Tipton, Brian Hackney, and House each added 2 RBIs of their own.
The Spirits offense was ruthless from the start, adding 7 runs in the top half of the first after John Hefner singled to lead off the game. Bottenfield and Sipila were both hit by a pitch and a triple by Hitzeman to the deepest part of Reverchon Park cleared the bases for a quick, 3 to 0 lead. House drew a walk and was later squeezed when Tipton reached on a fielder’s choice that allowed Hitzeman to score. Tipton swiped second and an RBI single from Hackney scored him to make it 5 to 0. Hackney moved to second on a wild pitch and after Patrick Bilgere flew out, a double from German to the left-centerfield gap scored Hackney. German was then able to score on an RBI single from Shawn Lee up the middle and the Spirits had a big lead to start the game off.
Six pitches later, the Spirits offense was back at the plate after German set the Bulls down quickly. Both Hefner and Bottenfield singled to start the inning and after Sipila reached on a fielder’s choice that squeezed Bottenfield at second, Hitzeman drew a walk to fill the bags for House. House came through with a sacrifice fly to score Hefner, and after Tipton drew a walk to load the bags a second time, the Bulls were able to hold off the disaster-in-progress after Hackney grounded out to end the inning.
The Bulls were able to put a couple of base runners on in the bottom half of the second, but German rebounded and struck out Mathew Diamond and Phil Luna to close out the inning. The Spirits were held scoreless in the top half of the third despite German reaching for the second time on a one-out single, but the Spirits defense behind German’s accuracy made quick work of the Bulls in the bottom frame to close out three inning with an 8 to 0 lead.
The Bulls then turned to Morrow to replace Luna on the mound and as most teams find out, the harder throwing pitcher tends to lose the battle against Spirits hitters. Bringing a substantially faster ball to the plate, the Spirits again erupted with 6 more runs. Morrow set down John Holmquist on swings, but Hefner was able to reach on a Bulls fielding error. Bottenfield singled and Sipila doubled to score both runners. Hitzeman and House followed with back-to-back doubles and a pair of singles by Tipton and Hackney kept the runs coming home. Bilgere was able to reach on a fielder’s choice that forced Hackney out at second, but Tipton crossed the dish safely to make it 14 to 0, Spirits.
The Spirits turned to House to do some cleanup work and to keep the hard-throwing right-handed pitcher in tune, and House made quick work of the Bulls setting the side in order. The Spirits offense then returned to add 3 more runs in the fifth inning after Holmquist led things off with a hard single to the right side. Hefner was then hit by a pitch and a double by Bottenfield forced the pain to the Bulls side as both runners scored. Sipila wore his second pitch of the game to reach base once again, and a fly out by Hitzeman left two on with one out. House drew a walk to fill the bags for Tipton and he reached on a fielder’s choice to put out House at second but the play allowed Bottenfield to score to make it 17 to 0.
House then set the Bulls down in order a second time, this time with a pair of strikeouts and the squad pulled the plug on the game as it was reaching the league’s two-hour time limit.
“Not much you can say tonight about this team,” Lee commented afterwards. “When you’re hitting on all cylinders and your pitching is lights out, you’re a tough team to beat. The Bulls will be fine. We’ve seen them compete with anyone in the league and they had a tough night on offense. German had a hell of a game on both sides and we’re happy to see the way he’s picked his game up this season. McPherson, Bottenfield, Sipila, and Hitzeman are probably the toughest top 4 hitters any team can face in DFW, and when you add House in the mix and our other guys that are playing really well, like Tipton, I think we can make some noise this season. It’ll be about consistency, something we struggled with dearly last season. But we’re excited to see where this goes.
The Spirits will idle next Monday night with a bye and currently hold the second place spot in the NTABL Masters League standings at 3-1. The team’s next scheduled game is May 3rd, when the team hosts the Royals Baseball Club on Graham Field at Prestonwood Christian Academy. Click here for schedule details and to download the iScore Central app to tune into games live online.