(June 18, 2018 – Plano, TX) A week removed from their first loss, the Spirits (45+) squad appeared to play bully, pun intended as they took out some frustrations on offense and defense Monday night against the North Dallas Bulls. The Spirits used 12 hits to score runs in each inning of the shortened, five inning game to route the Bulls by a final of 15 to 1.
The middle of the Spirits lineup produced 12 of the 15 RBIs for the squad as Kirk Sipila added a triple out of his 3 hits alongside a run scored and 3 RBIs to lead the offense. Brant Finchum scored 4 times, while walking twice, stealing 3 bags and adding a pair of hits including a double. Jack Nash followed suit also going 2-for-2, walking twice, adding 3 runs, 2 RBIs and 2 stolen bases as well. Shawn Lee rounded up the box score with a 2-for-4 performance, adding 2 runs scored and 3 RBIs.
It was the Bulls who drew first blood in the top half of the first after Jeff Jones led the game off with a single. Dave Wylie grounded into a double-play, but Mark Coll followed with a two-out single to keep the Bulls’ inning alive. He scored on the next pitch after Jim Crombie belted a double straight into the head wind in center field and over the head of Lee playing in center. Starter, John Holmquist was able to get Jay Keeton to fly out, but the Bulls led, 1 to 0.
The phantasms quickly tied the game in the bottom half of the inning when Finchum led things off with a walk and then later stole second and third during a patient at-bat from Nash. Nash finally came through with a single to score Finchum and the game was tied. Keeton rallied to get Guy Koenig to fly out and then struck out both Lee and Chris Lewis to end the rally.
The Spirits went big in the second after setting the Bulls in order to start the inning. Sipila tripled to lead things off and then scored after Patrick Bilgere walked and Eric McPherson drove him in on a sacrifice fly. With one out, Holmquist drew a base-on-balls as did both Finchum and Nash and the bases remained loaded after Nash picked up the free RBI to score Bilgere. Koenig reached on an error that scored Holmquist and Finchum scored after Lee reached on another Bulls fielding error. Lewis reached on a fielder’s choice that squeezed Koenig, but Nash scored and the Spirits led, 6 to 1. After advancing on a wild pitch, Lee later scored on an RBI single by Sipila and the Spirits led the game, 7 to 1 after two complete.
The squad added 5 more runs in the third, all after two outs when Finchum doubled and stole third and Nash drew his second base-on-balls. Nash stole second and Finchum scored on an RBI single by Koenig. Lee scored Nash after beating out an infield single and Lewis followed with a double to score Koenig. Both Lee and Lewis made their way home after Sipila singled and the Spirits had a 12 to 1 lead after the third.
The Spirits added 3 more in the fourth after Holmquist walked, Finchum singled, and both Nash and Koenig walked to score the first run. Lee fouled off 5 pitches during a 7-pitch at-bat and then singled to score Finchum, and Nash was able to score after Lewis reached on a fielder’s choice. Holmquist was able to hold the Bulls in the top half of the fifth and the game was called due to time limit. Holmquist pitched a complete game, allowing one earned run on 5 scattered hits, while walking and striking out 2.
Both Coll and Crombie led the Bulls with two hits each, including Crombie’s double and RBI. The win pushes the Spirits record to 10-1 on the season and they remain atop the NTABL Masters League standings heading into the season stretch. They’ll return to the diamond next Monday night as they host the DFW Hurricanes at Graham Field starting at 6:30PM. Click here for schedule details, to obtain directions to the game, or to download the iScore Central app to watch and listen to the game live, online!
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