Spirits (50+) Moves into Top Spot After Win over Redbirds

(June 14, 2023 – Euless, TX) The middle of the Spirits (50+) lineup carried the team to victory Wednesday night as pitcher, Mike Sopocy picked up another complete-game win as the Spirits beat the Redbirds by a score of 7 to 3 in DFW-ABA 50 League action.

Eric McPherson finished 3-for-4 and scored twice and Vince Parello added pair of hits including a double and a pair of runs batted in to help carry the team on offense. Sopocy went the distance, tossing 7 innings while allowing a pair of earned runs off of 9 hits, while striking out three and walking six. The six walks were very uncharacteristic of Sopocy, while he and his teammates held grievances with strikes called all evening by the home plate umpire.

“We can gas all we want about the strike zone, but it changes nothing,” Shawn Lee commented afterwards. “His zone was off for both teams. He missed other calls too, including calling fair balls foul and foul balls fair. His consistency was somewhere else along with those posted UFO stories you see on social media, but we got through it and took home the win. That’s all that matters.”

The Spirits defense held off scoring opportunity for the Redbirds in the top half of the first after Rich Beller and Jerry Gamez hit back-to-back singles after Kevin Fought led off with a ground out. With two on and one out, Daron Wilkinson grounded out to Lee and the Spirits were able to turn a pair to get out of the inning. In the bottom half of the frame, the ghosts picked up a quick pair of runs after McPherson led off with a single and stole second base. Lee grounded out but was able to move McPherson to third and Kirk Sipila followed with an RBI single to give the Spirits a 1 to 0 lead. Sipila was able to advance on an error by the Redbirds infield and that cost the Redbirds after Kent Fischer knocked in Sipila with an RBI single. Redbirds starter, Scott Clawson was able to get Sopocy and Parello to ground out to get out of the inning but the Spirits held a 2 to 0 advantage after one complete.

Both teams battled for the next pair of innings with the Spirits getting out of a bases loaded jam in the third inning. After a pair of walks to the first two Redbirds hitters, Sopocy was able to set down Paul Maust with a strikeout. Fought drew a walk to load the bags and Sopocy again came through with a needed strikeout, this time to Beller. Sopocy was then able to get Gamez to fly out to stave off any Redbirds scoring.

The Spirits then made it 6 to 0 in the bottom half of the inning after McPherson singled to start the inning. Lee flew out to center field but after McPherson stole second, Sipila reached on a base-on-balls to give the Spirits two on with one out. Fischer was then hit by a pitch to load the bases and Sopocy followed by reaching on an error that allowed both McPherson and Sipila to score. Parello followed with a double to score both Fischer and Sopocy and the Spirits had a 6 to 0 lead before Earl German flew out and Dee Mauldin grounded out to end the inning.

The Redbirds cut into the lead during the fourth inning after Wilkinson singled and his courtesy runner stole second base. Mark Tierney drew a walk and Steve Stone flew out. Sopocy struck out Kevin Boyd but Stephen Smith singled and Aaron Nowells followed with a single to score two runs to cut the Spirits lead to, 6 to 2. Lester Bedford battled off 5 straight foul balls before Sopocy was able to get him to fly out to end the Redbirds rally.

The Spirits added an insurance run in the bottom half of the fifth after Sipila drew a one-out walk and moved to second when Fischer grounded out. An RBI single by Sopocy gave the Spirits a 7 to 2 lead before Parello added a single and German grounded out to end the inning.

The Redbirds added a run in the sixth after Tierney led off with a single and later stole second base. He eventually scored on a Spirits error in the outfield but the Spirits were able to hold off any additional scoring and departed with a 7 to 3 win to claim the top spot in the standings.

“Great win tonight,” Lee continued. “Sopocy really did a great job despite an uphill climb against that strike zone tonight. Our defense was solid and we had a few guys step up tonight including Parello. Sipila had a great night for us at the plate, as did McPherson and other key hits mattered even though they may not have shown it in the box score. We were happy as hell to have Dee (Mauldin) on the field with us tonight, so getting a W against a top team proved worthwhile for all of us as we left the ballpark tonight.”

The Spirits will have the upcoming Saturday off for the rest of the league to catch up on the schedule, and will return to action the following Saturday when the visit the Aces. First pitch is scheduled for 9:00AM at McInnish Park, Field #11 in Carrollton. Fans can click here for schedule details.

Game Box Score

WingStop Players of the Game

Eric McPherson (3-4, 2 R, 2 SB)

Kirk Sipila (1-1, 2 BB, 3 R, RBI)

Vince Parello (2-3, 2B, 2 RBI)