BY DENNIS CHASE
TRAVERSE CITY — That was easy.
Chase Burch led a lusty 14-hit attack with three hits and five RBIs, and Reid Kelly pitched seven solid innings, as the Traverse City Beach Bums romped to an 11-3 Frontier League win over Washington on a warm Thursday evening at Wuerfel Park.
Traverse City scored seven runs in the first two innings to break it open.
"We're playing with a lot of confidence right now," Burch said.
Traverse City, which leads the East Division, won its fifth consecutive game on this homestand and improved to a league-best 26-12.
The Beach Bums pounded out 14 hits. Burch and Kyle Colligan had three hits apiece.
Brian Heere and Ryan Still, the first two batters in the lineup, reached base a combined nine times, scoring six runs.
"Heere and Still have been unbelievable at getting on," Burch said. "It seems every inning they're up, they're on. That makes our job that much easier — find a good pitch, hit it hard and they're going to score."
That happened in the first inning when Heere and Still singled and Jose Vargas drilled a home run to right. In the second, Still and Burch each doubled in two runs.
That proved to be a testy inning as Washington starter Jhonny Montoya, who allowed 10 of the 14 batters he faced to reach base, hit Vargas and Jeff Flagg with pitches, the second earning an ejection.
Kelly had no such difficulty. Although not as sharp as in some of his past outings, he still limited the Wild Things to two runs on five hits to raise his record to 5-1.
"I talked with him after the second inning," manager Gregg Langbehn said. "I thought he was overthrowing a little bit. He wasn't using his defense enough — not that he was striking guys out. I thought he was pitching away from contact, trying to get strike outs. I just said, 'Let the defense work for you. You've got a seven-run lead.' I thought he settled in after that."
The Beach Bums added a run in the sixth and then three more in the seventh on Burch's bases-loaded double.
Burch said he's just trying to keep up with teammates Vargas and Flagg, who are among the league leaders in RBIs.
"I'm trying to catch up to those two," Burch said. "They're tough."
"We've got guys in the middle of the lineup who are doing their jobs," added Langbehn. "We've got guys who are getting on for them. Everybody is contributing — one through nine"
Traverse City will go for the sweep tonight with Bennett Whitmore getting the start.
"We're playing well," Langbehn said. "We've been consistent all year. That's the biggest thing. We're pitching well. We're playing good defense. We're taking advantage of extra opportunities offensively."