(October 6, 2019 – Plano, TX) The big arm is back and the Spirits are happy to see the return of their competitive pitcher and slugger, Craig Molldrem. Molldrem returned to the lineup to start the short fall baseball season, but debuted on the mound for a pair of innings on Sunday night and picked up right where he left off following Tommy-John surgery this past year.
Molldrem pitched two innings, gave up one single and struck out 5 before being relieved by Jonathan Duran, who had a solid effort of his own. Duran finished the final 4 innings for the Spirits allowing just 2 earned runs, while giving up 6 hits, walking 2 and striking out 3.
The Spirits offense rallied for 17 hits to cruise to a 12 to 3 victory over the Orioles to move to 4-1 on the season. David Tipton led the way offensively, finishing 3-for-4 on the night with a pair of runs scored and 3 stolen bases. Brant Finchum was right behind him with a 2-hit evening that included a run scored and 3 runs batted in, and Duran finished strong with a pair of hits, run scored and a free pass to first.
Cliff Brade led things off after drawing a walk in the bottom of the first and quickly swiped both second and third. He then scored on a single by Finchum and the Spirits led 1 to 0. The Orioles tied things up in the top of the third when Bill Downing singled off of Duran, who had replaced Molldrem as pitcher. Downing advanced to third on a single by Victor Saffle and would later score on a sacrifice fly by Dennis DiCapua.
The Spirits then rallied for 4 runs in the bottom half of the inning to go up 5 to 1 after Brade singled and Travis Hitzeman followed Finchum’s fly out with a home run ball that still hasn’t landed. Molldrem then drew a walk and a single by Tipton put two aboard with one out. Molldrem and Tipton advanced on a double-steal and after Jesus Ayala went down on swings, Aaron Wilson singled to score both runners.
The Orioles followed up with a run in the fourth and that closed up the scoring as Duran and the Spirits defense shut down the birds the rest of the way. The Spirits put up a “touchdown” in the final inning after putting a seven-spot on Downing and company when Duran drew a one-out walk and later scored after Grant Martin reached on an Orioles fielding error. Brade singled and after both runners snagged bags to move up, Finchum followed with a single to score both runners. Finchum then swiped a bag and after Hitzeman was retired, Molldrem singled to put runners on the corners. Molldrem took second and after Tipton singled to load the bags, Ayala cleared them with a double. Wilson followed with a single to push Ayala to third and he later scored on a single by Hefner before the game ended due to time constraints.
“That’s a heck of a way to end a game,” commented team skipper, Shawn Lee following his team’s victory. “The game could have gone into another inning had the Orioles retired us, but the guys just kept hitting. It’s nearly as good as a walk-off, less the drama. Keep your opponent away from offense by staying at the plate. We’re obviously happy to have Craig (Molldrem) back. He’s not just a great athlete, but a great teammate and competitor. He raises the level of play of the guys around him just like (Kirk) Sipila and that’s a solid recipe for winning. We’ll ease him back based on what he feels is good for him and as long as we keep hitting the ball, I think we can beat anyone.”
The Spirits will return to action on Wednesday night when they visit regular season pitcher, John Holmquist as an opponent with the Dallas Bulls. Game is scheduled for 7:30PM at McInnish Field #10. Click here for schedule details.
Waxahachie Autoplex Players of the Game