(August 25, 2022 – Plano, TX) The Spirits (45+) offense bit first against the Rattlers on Monday night, scatting 14 hits on the night to cruise to a 10 to 3 win to advance to the NTABL Masters League Championship game next Monday night.
Earl German pitched a great game, going 6 innings while allowing just 2 earned off of 5 hits, and walking one. German was equally present from the offensive side, adding a perfect 3-for-3 performance from the plate, alongside a walk, RBI, and run scored. Shawn Lee added a pair of hits including a double, scored once, and knocked in 2 runs, and Kirk Sipila also doubled, adding 2 hits, an RBI and 2 runs scored. Mike Sopocy also finished the night with 2 hits, a run scored, and an run batted in while Brian Hackney added a double, RBI, walk, and a runs scored as well. Sean House also doubled on the night, adding a pair of runs batted in.
With two down in the first, following a 1-2-3 inning by German, Sipila doubled and then scored in a single by Lee to give the Spirits an early 1 to 0 lead. The Spirits then added a snowman in the second inning, taking advantage of Rattlers starter, Luis Ambruis after David Tipton reached on a dropped third strike. Hackney drew a base-on-balls, and a single by Chris Lewis loaded the bags. Sopocy followed with an RBI single to score Tipton, and German kept things going with an RBI single to score Hackney. Lester Bedford flew out but recorded the sacrifice fly RBI after Lewis tagged and scored, and the Spirits were up, 4 to 0. Chris Allen reached on a Rattlers fielding error that allowed Sopocy to score, and Eric McPherson kept things rolling after reloading the bases with a single. Sipila reached on a fielder’s choice that forced out McPherson at second, but German was able to score to make it 6 to 0. Lee then singled hom Allen and a double by House scored both Sipila and Lee to make it 9 to 0 before Tipton grounded out to closeout the large rally.
“Great inning from us offensively,” Lee commented afterwards. “Ironically, Chris (Allen) mentioned to me before the game that we need to start putting up 8 or 9 runs if we want to win this thing. Well, that’s exactly what we did. Ambruis is a good pitcher. Our guys were getting it done on at the dish.”
A Spirits fielding error led to a runner reaching base and eventually scoring in the third for the Rattlers, but German remained in shutdown mode most of the game. With two outs in the sixth inning, Marcos Vidal and Rich Beller both singled, and a blast by Aaron Lowe to the centerfield wall allowed both runners to score after Lowe recorded a double. German was able to get Ambruis to ground out and that was all she wrote.
Tipton drew a walk in the bottom half of the sixth and later scored on an RBI double by Hackney to give the game its final score of 10 to 3 before the Spirits turned to House to closeout the game’s final inning.
With the win, the Spirits will visit the Dallas Cardinals next Monday night for a chance at the NTABL Masters League Championship. With the double-elimination format, the Spirits will need to win and then win a second game to claim the title. Click here for schedule details (game two here).