Traverse City Record-Eagle

June 17, 2013

Bums' Birch slams Slammers

By JAMES COOK
jcook@record-eagle.com

---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Chase Burch sent a message to the rest of the Frontier League.

That message: Don't throw at Chase Burch.

Joliet already got it.

The Slammers threw at Burch in the first inning, and the Traverse City slugger responded with home runs in his next two at-bats Sunday to lead the Beach Bums to a 6-4 win over the Slammers to complete a series sweep.

"I think that's what you're supposed to do after they throw at you — hit a couple home runs," Burch said. "It makes you feel a little better after it. At least they admitted they threw at me, so that's good. We'll see what happens from there.

"I called them out and a couple of their guys admitted to it. I was wondering why it took them three games to do it, if they wanted to do it."

Burch had three hits and three walks in the season-opening series against the Slammers and added five more hits and four walks in this series. Last season, he had 14 hits and nine walks in 12 games against Joliet.

"Chase got some pitches up in the zone and he didn't miss them," Traverse City manager Gregg Langbehn said. "They were mistake pitches. And they threw behind him and were trying to hit him in the first inning. That's what you get. I hate to say that, but that's the way it goes. If you're going to throw at somebody, oh well."

Burch walked in his other two at-bats — and stole second standing up in the seventh. Langbehn said he had given Burch a sign to steal, but Burch didn't see it and went on his own.

"Just add a little salt to the wound," Burch said. "It was the first one of the year. I try to get a couple. I found a good opportunity, I thought. Unfortunately, I took a good pitch away from Carlo (Testa), but I was trying to get in scoring position for him."

Burch and Chris Cowell staked starting pitcher Jake Sabol an early 5-0 lead. And for a guy with a 0.97 ERA, that's about all he seems to need on a given day.

Burch slammed a no-doubt three-run homer in the third. Right after belting the Brett Zawacki pitch, Burch flipped hit bat and watched the ball sail over the left-field fence with plenty of room to spare.

"He was showing me what he was throwing, so I knew everything he was throwing," Burch said. "So I was sitting on it, got it and didn't miss that one."

Testa would then single and steal both second and third and come in on a Zach Kometani groundout for a 4-0 lead.

Cowell added to that with a lead-off solo blast in the fourth.

Joliet countered with three runs in the fifth, but Burch answered with a solo shot in the inning's bottom half.

"They were both hanging breaking balls," Burch said. "The second one was a little better, but I was able to get enough of it and luckily the wind was playing in my favor and it got out of here."

Burch's blasts gave him 59 in his TC career, to go with 245 RBIs. Testa and D'Marcus Ingram added two hits each.

Sabol (5-1) breezed through the first four innings, facing the minimum number of batters en route to a 4-0 lead.

"He was cruising," Langbehn said. "He only had 37 pitches through the fourth inning. He was pounding the zone and pretty aggressive. He labored a bit the last couple innings. He got tired, by his own admission. He did a great job as usual, and he gave us a great chance to win."

The Slammers scored three in the fifth on a walk, two singles and a double. Nick Akins added a solo homer in the seventh to pull Joliet within two runs. Sabol finished with four strikouts, six hits and two walks in 6.1 innings.

Burny Mitchem came on to finish out the seventh and go into the eighth and Nick Capito finished it from there for his third save of the season.

The sweep is Traverse City's fifth straight win. The Bums are off today before hitting the road for six games at Washington and Normal.