(November 5, 2017 – Plano, TX) The Spirits (Trinity) squad continued with its winning ways in search of their first NTABL Fall Baseball championship this past Sunday night. It was a slow start for the offense in what essentially started off as a pitcher’s duel, but the ghosts found some offense half way through the game and never looked back as they went on to defeat the Pirates by a margin of, 4 to 0.
Team manger, John Showalter turned to “old trusty,” Craig Molldrem and Molldrem proved once again to be a hurdle for a Spirits opponent. Molldrem went the distance, needing only 77 pitches, 60 of which were strikes to blank the Pirates offense. Molldrem allowed just 2 hits and struck out 11 en route to his fourth victory in the short Fall season.
The Pirates went in order in the first and the Spirits followed with some opportunity that unfortunately failed to plate a runner. Cliff Brade drew a lead off walk and attempted to reach third after he stole second and was tagged out on a ground ball relay to third that allowed JP Seider to reach with a fielder’s choice. Showalter went down on swings and Mike Anderson made it two on with two out with a single up the middle. Pirates pitcher, Alex Rodriguez was able to get Eric Goetz to ground out to kill the inning.
Spirits Open (18+) player and Fall Pirates player, Nate Martinez hit a single off of Molldrem in the second, however the rest of the lineup went in order to end the Pirates half of the inning. Duane Aponte followed with one of his two hits on the evening by hitting a single in the second inning, but was later squeezed at second base after Mike Werner reached on a fielder’s choice. Werner was later picked off the bases and Adam Brown went down on swings to end the Spirits half of the second with the score still, 0-0.
Molldrem then struck out the Pirates side of the third, despite River Stone reaching on an error and the Spirits offense came to life during the bottom half of the inning when David Tipton drew a base-on-balls and Patrick Bilgere followed suit to put runners on first and second with nobody out. Brade delivered the offensive heroics with a triple that was good to score both Tipton and Bilgere and the Spirits led the game, 2 to 0.
The Pirates once again went in order in the fourth and the fifth after a single by Gerardo Castillo later turned into a Spirits double-play. The Spirits then rallied for another pair of runs in the fifth after Brown started things off with a lead off walk. Brown advanced to second on a single by Tipton and the Pirates then turned to pitcher, Nathaniel Larmon for an answer. Larmon struck out Bilgere, but a combination of a passed ball followed by a wild pitch allowed Brown to reach third and later score on the pitching miscue. JR Rivera drew a walk to put runners on the corners with one out and Tipton later scored on yet another wild pitch from Larmon.
Molldrem went on to strike out the side in the sixth and then set the Pirates in order during the seventh inning with another pair of strikeouts to seal the victory for the Spirits.
“Solid effort by the guys tonight,” mentioned Showalter after his team’s victory. ” We played really well considering a two week layoff. Only one error in the field and Molldrem looked sharp as always. It’s tough when you have to sit this long after your season and two games per week. The league had a few make-up games to get in so we understand, but there’s got to be a better way for higher seeds not to be penalized with waiting to play. Regardless, we were sharp defensively so we’ll take the win and we’ll prepare for the next round.”
Showalter’s Spirits will return to action on Tuesday night as they host the Oak Cliff Pelicans for a spot on the Trinity Division Championship next Sunday. Click here for game details or to watch the game live, online.