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Dallas Spirits Post Amazing 2017 Campaign in North Texas

North Texas Amateur Baseball League


‘18+, 35+ and Fall League ‘Brazos’ Division Champions'

Submitted by Shawn Lee and John  Showalter

2017 was certainly a great year for the Dallas Spirits Baseball Club, capturing 3 out of 5 possible titles in the NTABL (North Texas Amateur Baseball League), including the NTABL Veterans League (35+) Championship, the Open American (18+) Championship, and the Fall Baseball (Brazos) Division Championship.

The Spirits (35+) squad finished at 19-1 behind team MVP and batting title winner, Craig Molldrem. Molldrem hit .553 and was awarded the NTABL top pitcher award after finishing with a record of 16-1, with an ERA of 0.69, and an incredible 174 strikeouts over the season.

The Spirits (35+) also relied on 3-time team MVP, Kirk Sipila, who hit .532 (16 RBI) and led the team with 25 hits. Club manager and team manager Shawn Lee was in the mix finishing second with 22 hits, while sluggers, Jason Bottenfield (.567, 11 RBI) , and Travis Hitzeman (.393, 16 RBI), alongside Cliff Brade (21 stolen bases), all had huge impacts offensively for the team. Overall, the Spirits (35+) squad hit for .396, while holding their opponents to just .178.

In the Veterans League Championship, the Spirits hosted perennial power, Dallas Modoc,the 2016 Champions and Molldrem didn’t disappoint. Molldrem struck out 11 Modoc hitters, while pitcher, Jerry Anderson held his own for Modoc. Anderson was also solid, holding Spirits hitters to 8 hits, while striking out 9 in the loss. Modoc opened with a 1-0 lead in the third after Jay Langston singled and Anderson reached on an error. Langston later scored on an RBI single by Chris Cec

The Spirits defense held and the offense later opened things up with a 5-run fourth inning highlighted by a 2-RBI single by John Mahalik with nobody out. Molldrem followed with a 2-run double to right-center and a single by Chris Lewis capped off the scoring. The Spirits added an additional run in the sixth and held on behind the arm of Molldrem, who finished the game by picking up strikeouts 10 and 11. 

For the Spirits (18+) squad, first year team manager John Showalter was highly successful in very competitive NTABL Open American League (18+) play after finishing with a record of 21-3. The (18+) squad was led by batting title winner, Eric Goetz, who hit for .538 and led the team tied with 28 hits. Mike Werner also contributed 28 hits (.354), while adding a team-leading 24 RBI. Cliff Brade was also a threat for the young guns, swiping 29 bases, while team MVP and NTABL top pitcher, Duane Aponte was like a surgeon all season, finishing 11-1 overall with an ERA of 2.96 and 39 strikeouts. As a team, the Spirits (18+) squad finished with a .353 batting average, while holding opponents to just .239.

In the Open American League Championship, the Spirits defeated another long-time perennial power, the Oak Cliff Pelicans two games to none in a best-of-three series. Craig Molldrem struck out 12 and the Spirits offense exploded for 15 runs behind 4 RBI from Molldrem, 2 RBI from Mike Werner, and another 3 RBI from JP Seider en route to a 15-1 victory. It was the fourth straight year the Pelicans had returned to the

Championship round. In game two, the Pelicans made it much closer, however the Spirits prevailed 6-3 to capture the title. Newcomer, Teddy Croft went 4-for-4 with a triple, run scored, and 2 RBI to lead the Spirits offense. A combination of pitching from Duane Aponte and Teddy Turner led to eight strikeouts, while the defense played solid to seal the victory.

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