(May 21, 2022 – Irving, TX) It had been a few weeks since solid play was a pair of words used for Spirits (50+) baseball, but the dust has settled and the team put together a nice victory Saturday morning, winning 8 to 3 over the Rangers in DFW-ABA 50 League action.
Kirk Sipila, Shawn Lee, and Stacy Scott each finished with 3 hits, while Earl German finished with a complete-game to contribute to the victory. German tossed all 7 innings, allowing just 3 earned runs to cross the dish against 6 hits, while walking 2 and striking out 3.
Sipila, Lee, German, and Brian Hackney all finished with doubles on the day, with Sipila adding 3 runs batted in, and Lee adding another 2 batted in. Sipila singled with one out in the first and Mike Sopocy followed with another single. Sopocy was replaced with a courtesy runner in the form of Chris Allen, who was also ailing from a strained hamstring and a sinus issue. Lee followed with a double that scored Sipila, but Allen was cut down after obeying a scoring signal by the Spirits third base coach that should have been a hold. The Rangers were able to relay the throw back from the outfield to tag Allen out to extinguish the additional run before Hackney flew out to end the Spirits’ half of the inning.
The Rangers tied the game in the bottom half of the frame after Jimmy Campise singled and Rick Oden walked. Campise swiped third base and after Holbrook flew out, Oden stole second and Campise scored after Dennis Sutton grounded out.
The Spirits broke the tie with a pair of runs in the second after John Hefner walked with one out and Scott singled. John Holmquist followed with a single to load the bags, but the run opportunity was squeezed after Allen reached on a fielder’s choice that put out Hefner at the dish. A single by Sipila scored both Scott and Holmquist and the Spirits had a 3 to 1 lead moving into the bottom half of the inning.
The Rangers wasted no time tying the game a second time, adding a pair of runs of their own after Bruce Marchionda walked with one out and Fernando Moreno was hit by a German pitch. Marc Patterson singled to load the bases, and a single to right that turned into a 9-3 ground out after Holmquist fielded and threw out Mitch Hancock at first, allowed both Marchionda and Moreno to score to tie things up.
The Spirits rallied for a 4 to 3 lead after Lee singled to start off the third and went on to steal second base. Hackney then doubled to score Lee and the Spirits had a lead moving into the bottom of the third.
German was able to stave off any scoring by the Rangers in the bottom of the third, and the game remained quiet until the Spirits half of the fourth when Sopocy and Lee both drew two-out walks. Sopocy was able to move to third on a passed ball, and after a pickoff attempt to Lee at first, Sipila, running for Sopocy, took off for home and was able to score easily before the ball was retrieved and relayed to the dish. Lee went on to steal both second and third, but Hackney was called out swinging on an absolutely terrible “no call” by the home plate umpire.
Leading 5 to 3, the Spirits entering into the top half of the sixth and increase their lead by another pair of runs. Holmquist walked and Allen flew out. Sipila was able to double home Holmquist and after Sopocy flew out, Lee singled home Sipila and swiped another bag before Hackney grounded out to end the frame.
German set the Rangers 1-2-3 in the sixth and the Spirits added an insurance run in the seventh after German greeted Oden with a double. Oden replaced Moreno, who went the first six. Oden was then able to get Henfer on swings and German at third, after German got greedy trying to snag a bag. Scott singled to keep the inning alive and went on to steal second. He then scored on an RBI single by Holmquist before Allen went down on swings.
German set the Rangers in order in the seventh to close out the game and the Spirits found themselves back in the win column.
“Great effort today from all the guys,” Lee mentioned afterwards. “Our defense was on point. We had one double-play and nearly had a second. Stacy (Scott) has been hitting great lately, and the additional support from (John) Holmquist has been great. He’s hitting the ball well, too. Outstanding effort by Earl (German) on both sides today. This is how you play team baseball. When we play well, we are hard to beat.”
The Spirits will face a test when they take on the first place Sultanes Rockers next Saturday at McInnish Park, Field #10 in Carrollton. First pitch is at 9:00AM and you can click here for additional details.