(May 6, 2023 – Carrollton, TX) The Spirits (50+) started their vengeance tour and Saturday’s target was the White Sox. The White Sox have had success in the DFW-ABA 50 League in recent years, with the Spirits seemingly falling short in just about each contest played, including an 8 to 6 loss to start the 2023 season.
From the get go, the Spirits appeared to be in charge. After both teams traded eggs in the first inning, the Spirits offense broke the ice by scoring a run in the top half of the second after Will Nash reached on a one-out single. Shawn Lee drew a base-on-balls and a single by Brian Hackney loaded the bases. Anthony Osburn flew out and it appeared the Spirits may strand a pile of base runners, but Mike Sopocy was able to reach on a White Sox fielding error that allowed Nash to score before Todd Murrah grounded out to end the inning.
With a 1 to 0 lead behind him, Sopocy, the Spirits starter, was able to get out of a two on with nobody out situation after Brian Boyd and Alex Zuniga led off the Sox inning with back-to-back hits. Ken Affholter grounded into a double-play to slow the Sox inning and Sopocy was able to get Roger Roberts to ground out to secure the Spirits one run lead.
The ghosts’ offense then opened up for 4 runs in the third to take a commanding 5 to 0 lead after Earl German singled and then scored on an RBI triple by Stacy Scott. Eric McPherson flew out and a few pitches later, Scott crossed the plate following a wild pitch from Zuniga. Vince Parello walked and then scored after Kirk Sipila tripled and the Spirits held a 4 to 0 advantage. Nash singled home Sipila and Lee singled to follow Nash but Hackney flew out to end the inning.
Sopocy continued to keep Sox hitters off balance in the bottom frame after sending James Boggus, Roland Lopez, and Jesus Morales back to the bench, 1-2-3 style after striking out two of the three hitters.
The Spirits then added run number six in the top half of the fourth after Sopocy was hit by a pitch with one out and moved to second after Murrah grounded out. German singled to move Sopocy to third and an RBI single by Scott scored him before McPherson flew out.
The score remained 6 to 0, Spirits until the fifth after the Sox finally scored following a double by Boyd. A Spirits fielding error allowed Zuniga to reach safely and Boggus later singled to score Boyd before Sopocy struck out Lopez to get out of the inning.
Osburn was hit by a pitch with two outs in the sixth and Sopocy walked to set the table for Murrah’s RBI single to score Osburn to add another run for the Spirits. A pair of Spirits fielding errors allowed the White Sox to close the gap to 7 to 2, but the Spirits rallied for another run in the seventh after Scott picked up his second triple on the day. Scott was tagged out at home when McPherson grounded to third and Scott took off toward the plate. The play allowed McPherson to reach safely and singles by both Sipila and Kent Fischer allowed McPherson to score before Nash popped out to the third baseman and Sipila was doubled up at second on an absolutely blown call by the umpiring crew. The ball should have easily been ruled an infield fly, however the crew inexplicably ruled the pop-up “non-routine” and allowed for the double-play to occur.
Boyd singled for the Sox in the bottom half of the seventh but it wasn’t enough as Sopocy picked up another pair of strikeouts before getting Roberts to ground out to end the game.
“Absolutely awesome job by ‘Snoop’ (Mike Sopocy) on the hill today,” Lee mentioned afterwards. “He went the distance for us and they simply could not get started against him today. His mix of pitches working with Will (Nash) behind the plate was just deadly today, so hats off to both of those guys. They called a great game. Stacy (Scott) was swinging it today for us and (Earl) German continues to stay hot at the plate. That’s good baseball. If we can keep that recipe rolling, we’ll be hard to beat.”
Sopocy finished with the complete-game victory, allowing 0 earned runs off of 8 hits while walking 2, and striking out 8. Scott finished a perfect, 3-for-3 with 2 triples, a run scored and a pair of runs batted in. Nash finished with a pair of hits, a run scored, and an RBI and was solid behind the plate. Sipila finished with a pair of hits including a triple, run scored and a run batted in. Boyd finished with 3 hits including a double to lead the White Sox.
The victory puts the Spirits in a 3-way tie for first atop the DFW-ABA 50 League Standings. The ghosts return to action on May 13 when they visit the Phillies on McInnish #10 at 11:45PM next Saturday. Fans can click here for schedule details or to download the iScore Central app to listen live online.