(March 26, 2022 – Carrollton, TX) It was a great day for baseball weatherwise, and that carried over in the form of great offense as the Spirits (50+) squad was awake and ready to swing away Saturday morning. The Spirits played host to the Rangers at McInnish Park, Field #11 and even though the spring season was taking its sweet time to enter North Texas, the Spirits bats were alive and wasting no time starting in the first inning of play.
The Spirits put up 9 runs in the first and added 2 more in the second to take an 11 to 0 lead, which appeared at first to break the spirit of the Rangers immediately. The unfortunate part of the hot start seemed to be on the Spirits side, perhaps thinking the game was over. The ghosts waivered momentarily, allowing the Rangers back in the game with a 5-run third inning. The team bounced back however, adding 3 more runs in the third and fourth innings to essentially keep the game out of reach.
Chris Allen, Eric McPherson, Shawn Lee, and John Hefner led the Spirits box score, each finishing with 3 hits on the day, while Kirk Sipila and Brian Hackney each added a pair of hits, with Sipila adding a triple. Allen, Lee, Hackney, and Will Nash each added doubles, while McPherson and Hefner added 3 runs batted in, and Nash led everyone with 4 runs batted in.
The Spirits opened up the game with Allen leading off with a single. Allen moved to third on an error by Rangers pitcher, Rick Oden, and then scored on a single by McPherson to give the ghosts an early 1 to 0 lead. Sipila then singled and Lee followed suit to load the bags for Mike Sopocy. Sopocy wore a pitch from Oden to make it 2 to 0, Spirits and the scoring continued after Nash crushed a double to the left centerfield gap, allowing all 3 runners aboard to score. Hackney flew out, but after Nash swiped third base, he later scored on a single by Hefner. Stacy Scott grounded out, but John Holmquist and Allen, batting for the second time in the inning, followed with back-to-back singles to score Hefner. McPherson then crushed a triple to the left field wall that allowed both Holmquist and Allen to score before Sipila grounded out to end the inning.
The Rangers went down 1-2-3 in the second, but the Spirits continued to throttle the gas pedal after Lee reached on a Rangers fielding error and moved to third on a single by Sopocy. Lee was able to cross the dish after a sacrifice fly ball from Nash, and after Hackney reached on an error to move Sopocy to second, an RBI single by Henfer added the team’s 11th run.
The Rangers rallied for 5 in the third, but the ghosts bounced back to put 3 runs back on the board after Sipila tripled and Lee reached on an infield single that held Sipila at third. Sopocy grounded out, but that allowed Lee to move to second and for Sipila to score. Nash drew a walk and both runners stole bases to move up for Hackney, who followed with a double to score both runners.
The Rangers added 3 more runs in the fourth, but the Spirits countered with another 3 runs of their own after Scott singled. Holmquist went down on strikes, but a double by Allen scored Scott to add another run to the board. McPherson singled and Sipila lost a battle on swings, but a double by Lee scored Allen to add yet another run. McPherson was able to score on a passed ball before Sopocy flew out to end the inning.
Hefner added the additional run in the fifth inning after Nash reached on an error and then moved to third on a single by Hackney. Hefner followed with a single to score Nash to end the game due to the league’s mercy rule.
“Thought we looked good on both sides of the diamond today,” Lee mentioned after the game. “20 hits? That’s just ridiculous. Guys are lighting it up at the plate. No complaints here. If we can keep playing like this, we can make some noise in this league. We shouldn’t have lowered our guard to let them back in, but we also have to understand that some of these teams can also do to us what we were doing to the Rangers this morning. Overall, great win. Loving what we’re getting out of McPherson, Sipila, Nash and Hackney on offense. Other guys are contributing too, but these fellas are getting it done right now.”
The team returns to the field next Saturday morning when they play host to Sultanes Rockers. First pitch is scheduled for 11:45AM at McInnish Park, Field #11. Click here for schedule details and be sure to download the iScore Central app to listen live.