TRAVERSE CITY — The Beach Bums have already hauled in a ton of awards this season.
Now they have just one more left to get: The Frontier Cup. That journey begins today at home with a best-of-five series with Southern Illinois.
The last time Traverse City entered the postseason-- also the only other time — the Beach Bums went all the way to the championship series before bowing out. This time, they hope to go one step further and bring the Cup to Wuerfel Park on a more permanent basis than the temporary viewing it had at the stadium during the 2010 playoffs.
"I think our guys should be proud of the season they had," TC manager Gregg Langbehn said. "I know they're eagerly awaiting Wednesday. The effort and focus was good the last week after clinching a spot."
Clinching a playoff spot — and the overall top seed — Traverse City has been able to align its starting rotation the way it wants it, while the Miners needed to go to the wire to sew up the final postseason spot. However, Southern Illinois' rotation is deep, and there isn't much drop off between their first four starters.
"Southern Illinois is always good and always in the chase," Langbehn said. "They went through a stretch there where they were teetering back and forth, but in the end, they always find a way to win down the stretch and put themselves in a position to win."
The Beach Bums (64-32) have superior numbers in almost every statistical category, although the Miners (55-39) and Beach Bums evenly split six games this season.
The Miners surged in the second half of the season to earn the fourth and final playoff spot after making a series of trades for fortify their roster — especially solidifying its bullpen — since about the time the Miners took two of three in an Aug. 3-5 series in Traverse City. The Beach Bums had taken two of three at Southern Illinois in a June 11-13 set.
The Miners dealt for Brandon Cunniff on Aug. 3 to solve their closer woes. Three of the five players who have notched saves are no longer with the team. Cunniff leads active players with four saves in seven appearances since the deal.
And an Aug. 1 trade with Washington brought in relievers Nick Cicio and Steve Grife, who have been two of their top bullpen arms ever since. Cicio has a 0.71 ERA in 10 appearances and Grife a 0.82 in 11 games.
Another pickup was outfielder Javier Herrera, who hit six homers in 19 games after being acquired in a trade from Rockford on Aug. 10.
The Beach Bums have the luxury of having been in the comforts of home for four straight days, including the league's two off days Monday and Tuesday. The teams travel on Friday before the series resumes in Marion, Ill., on Saturday and possibly Sunday.
"You're in your home routine a little more," Langbehn said. "It clearly helped us in August. We played so well, as we did all year. But you get in that routine of not being on the bus as much and you can eat at home and sleep at home. You get into your normal schedule for batting practice. These guys worked hard to get themselves into this position, but at the end of the day, you still have to win three of five."
Reid Kelly (10-3, 3.27) takes the mound for tonight's series opener. He'll be opposed by the Miners' David Harden (10-5, 3.05), who has won four of his last five starts and hasn't surrendered more than two earned runs in any of his last six. He tossed seven innings of six-hit ball in a 5-1 win at Wuerfel Park on Aug. 4.
Harden was pounded by the Beach Bums' order in a 9-7 loss June 11, giving up 12 hits and six runs — five earned — in five frames. In 2011, he was 1-1 against TC, giving up just nine hits and three runs in 12 innings.
Ironically, Kelly pitched in relief in the Aug. 4 loss, but was fairly successful, allowing just two hits in 2.1 frames of work. In his only other appearance against Southern Illinois, he gave up five runs — four earned — and seven hits in seven innings of a 5-3 road loss on June 13. Kelly hasn't lost a home start since his Wuerfel Park debut on May 27 against Windy City.
Thursday's Game 2 will see TC's Jacob Clem (7-4, 3.02) take on Daniel Calhoun (7-4, 2.52), while Saturday's Game 3 features a matchup of the Bums' Brooks Belter (10-3, 3.52) and the Miners' Cody Hall (9-1, 2.63).
TRAVERSE CITY — The Beach Bums have already hauled in a ton of awards this season.
Bums ace hurler headed closer to home
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Beach Bums trade Burch to RedHawks
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Bums' Langbehn: Season was a success
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Game 5 of Bums' series delayed by rain
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Crushers force Game 5, stun Beach Bums late
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- Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Video: Lake Erie 13, Beach Bums 3
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Bums take 2-1 series lead
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- Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Video: TC Beach Bums vs. Lake Erie
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- Monday, September 9, 2013
Lake Erie ties series with Bums
Traverse City’s Frontier League playoff series will be coming back to town all knotted up at a game apiece.Continued ...
- Sunday, September 8, 2013
Bums take Game 1 from Crushers
Scott Dunn and Matt Miller combined to shut out the Lake Erie Crushers as the Traverse City Beach Bums won 8-0 to win Game 1 of their Frontier League playoff series.Continued ...
- Saturday, September 7, 2013
Beach Bums open playoff series tonight
The second season begins tonight for the Traverse City Beach Bums.Continued ...
- Friday, September 6, 2013
Bums beat Lake Erie to snap streak
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- Thursday, September 5, 2013
Crushers clinch East championship
Lake Erie clinched the East Division championship with a 5-1 win Wednesday over the Traverse City Beach Bums.Continued ...
- Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Bums lose, clinch playoff spot
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- Monday, September 2, 2013
Gusrang wins game for Bums
Sean Gusrang’s two-out, game-wining RBI single in the 10th inning Sunday night set the stage for what promises to be an intriguing end to the Frontier League’s regular season.Continued ...
- Sunday, September 1, 2013
Bums no-hit by Joliet, lose 4-1
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- Saturday, August 31, 2013
Beach Bums beat Joliet Slammers
Scott Woodward homered and drove in two runs to help the Traverse City Beach Bums stay atop the Frontier League’s East Division.Continued ...
- Friday, August 30, 2013
Burch hits walk-off grand slam in 11th
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- Monday, August 26, 2013
Beach Bums finish sweep of Normal
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- Sunday, August 25, 2013
Beach Bums beat Normal
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- Friday, August 23, 2013
Beach Bums drop sixth straight game
Traverse City dropped its sixth straight game on Thursday as River City completed a three-game sweep of the Beach Bums, 8-5.Continued ...
- Thursday, August 22, 2013
Beach Bums let lead slip away
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- Wednesday, August 21, 2013
River City tops Bums, 8-5
River City exploded for five runs in the bottom of the seventh for a come-from-behind 8-5 Frontier League win over the Beach Bums, who have now dropped seven road games in a row.Continued ...
- Monday, August 19, 2013
Boomers sweep Beach Bums with 5-3 win
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- Bums ace hurler headed closer to home