Spirits (50+) Pick Up Shorthanded Win Over Diablos

(April 22, 2023 – Carrollton, TX) Missing a few starters and arguably their best hitter, the Spirits (50+) kicked off their weekend in style after picking up a victory over the top-seeded Diablos on Saturday morning at McInnish Park in Carrollton. Pitcher, Mike Sopocy picked up the complete-game victory, allowing just 2 earned off of 7 hits, while walking and striking out 6.

Vince Parello helped lead the Spirits offense with a pair of hits including a double, run scored, run batted in, and 2 walks. Eric McPherson and Anthony Osburn each doubled as well, with McPherson stealing a pair of bags, scoring twice, knocking in a pair of runs, and walking twice as well.

Sopocy appeared to struggle at times with control aided by some serious help by the plate umpire, who was inconsistent on a lot of strike zone calls. Corners were simply not given, forcing Sopocy to throw the ball down the middle most of the time with counts that had two strikes. Regardless, he found ways to get creative and left Diablos hitters uncomfortable at the plate all morning.

Despite a leadoff double by Tito Pena in the top half of the first, Sopocy was able to get Mauricio Rubio to ground out and then struck out both Brant Finchum and Randy Lash to get out of the frame. The Spirits followed with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the inning after McPherson walked and then stole second. Parello drew a walk as well and an RBI single by Kent Fischer scored McPherson. A pickoff attempt on Fischer was ruled safe by the field umpire and then overturned by a controversial call made by plate umpire when the Diablos skipper begged for a call change. The Spirits antagonistic argument proved fruitless, but Steven Nutt kept the Spirits inning moving by singling home Parello before Sopocy drew a walk and Osburn lost the battle on strikes to end the inning.

The Diablos tied the game at 2-2 in the second after Ramiro Escabido drew a walk and Dennis Sutton followed him with another walk. Jimmy Campise bunted both runners over and Escabido scored on an RBI single by Alfredo Mendoza. Mitch Grau’s sacrifice fly scored Sutton and the game was tied before Sopocy was able to get Glynn Solomon to fly out.

The game remained in check until the bottom half of the fourth when the Spirits hitters got after Solomon, who had replaced Diabolos starter, Rick Oden, who left the game with an injury. Osburn reached on a one-out double and Stacy Scott joined him on base after drawing a walk. Todd Murrah popped up to the infield to record the second out, but a double by McPherson scored both Osburn and Scott to make it 4-2, Spirits. Parello replaced him at second with an RBI double to make it 5-2 before Fischer walked and Brian Hackney grounded out to end the rally.

Sopocy and the Spirits defense held strong the rest of the way, however the Diabolos did make it interesting before the teams parted ways. In the top half of the seventh, Grau singled and Solomon flew out. Pena drew a walk and an error by Scott at third allowed Rubio to reach on what should have been a fielder’s choice and a putout at third after Fischer field the grounded and attempted to get the lead runner at third. With bases loaded, Finchum grounded to third and Scott was able to squeeze Grau at the dish to stave off a run scoring attempt. Sopocy then battled Lash, arguably the best hitter on the Diabolos for a 2-2 count before putting one in the dirt that allowed Pena to score and to cut the lead to 5 to 3. With the tying run on second, Sopocy ran the count full before getting Lash looking to end the game.

“Outstanding job by the guys today,” Shawn Lee commented after the game. “We’ve got nothing but love for the Diabolos. A number of us have played with the team in the past. Great group of guys. But today, they were the enemy. They’re the standard when it comes to winning in this league, so if you want to see where you stand, you attempt to run with them and today, we were able to beat them. Sopocy was great on the hill despite no help from the umpiring crew, and Parrello stayed hot on offense to help lead us to a win. Great job by McPherson at the dish as well. The man has been on a two-year hot streak. Great win today.”

The Spirits (50+) squad returns to action in DFW-ABA 50 League play with a match-up against the Mets next Saturday morning at 9:00AM. The game will take place on Field #11 at McInnish Park, and fans can click here for schedule details.

Game Box Score

WingStop Players of the Game

Mike Sopocy (7 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 6 BB, 6 K)

Vince Parello (2-2, 2B, R, RBI, 2 BB)

Eric McPherson (1-2, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 2 SB)